Grassley's Attack on Religoin

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Apr 04, 2008 10:21 AM
Over at the American Spectator, Bob Emrich does a good of explaining why Senator Charles Grassley's demands on religious leaders to "comply" with a financial probe are out-of line -- and potentially dangerous to free speech. 

Regarding Kenneth Copleand's concern that this is a First Amendment violation, Embrich writes,

... Grassley's action opens a Pandora's box of possible future investigations. What other politically incorrect church leaders and theological schools of thought will the U.S. Senate choose to target for investigation?

What about the black liberation theology popularized by Barack Obama's controversial pastor, Jeremiah Wright? Wright has retired to a $1.6 million home in a neighborhood on the south side of Chicago -- certainly a lavish lifestyle that seems equally ripe for such an investigation.

Or what about the Hare Krishna temple in Grassley's home state of Iowa, or the wealthy sect of Scientology, which is supported by Hollywood stars like Tom Cruise and John Travolta?

The list of possible investigations targeted at unpopular religious groups is endless.

THAT IS WHY CONGRESS outlawed political witch hunts when it passed the Church Audit Procedures Act in 1984. The Act prevents the Internal Revenue Service from launching a church tax inquiry unless a "high level Treasury official" reasonably believes there is cause. And it protects the church from politically-motivated leaks during the examination. Confidentiality is assured to the ministry in question.