Local Churches Watch IRS Case

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Under federal tax law, church leaders cannot endorse candidates or political parties. Bill Steiner is with the IRS office in Sacramento.

"What the internal revenue code does allow churches to do, including the clergy, is to speak out on important issues of the day."

Reverend Brian Baker with Trinity Cathedral in Sacramento agrees with that law.

"But I am concerned that public IRS scrutiny can dampen the important prophetic voice that churches have around social issues."

And Baker says it appears that some churches are allowed to distribute voter guides intended to influence parishioners. 

"It just seems unfair that a sermon preached in a more progressive or liberal congregation comes under such close scrutiny."

Sacramento IRS spokesman Steiner whenever a parishioner files a complaint they take it seriously and investigator every tip they get.