Grassley Targets Ministries

Posted: Mar 21, 2008 3:53 PM
I've been meaning to write about this for a while now, but here goes:  Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) seems to have a vendetta against television ministries, and is "asking" them to provide him with information they are not legally obligated to provide.  

According to Baptist Press

In a Nov. 5 letter, Grassley asked the six tax-exempt ministries to provide him with their personal and ministry-related financial records, including credit card statements, expenses for secondary residences used by the televangelists, gifts given by the ministries and lists of private automobiles.

The deadline is March 31.

Note:  I have no doubt that among the ministries targeted, some are completely legitimate ministries who do a lot of good work -- and some are possibly charlatans.  That's not the point. 

Here's what bothers me about Grassley's investigations ...

1.  This type of investigation seems to be targeting ministries solely due to their type of theology.  As Hugh often warned in defense of Mitt Romney -- even if this isn't your particular brand of vodka -- we must stand up for religious liberty.  The reason is that  sooner-or-later, someone might think your religion is "weird" and should be targeted.

2.  This investigation was launched without any specific cause.

3.  Our nation was founded on principles of religious liberty.  These principles demand we draw a line in the sand and don’t let this camel’s nose under the tent.

4.    There has been a pattern of IRS abuse and harassment of conservative organizations over the Clinton years.  This effort by Grassley paves the way for Obama or Hillary (in the unfortunate event they win the general election) to go after every ministry under the sun not under the religious Left umbrella. 

5.  Sen. Grassley’s investigation will have a chilling effect for all people of faith -- and other ministries -- not just this particular group of ministries.