ICC Note: As a part of a wider scandal involving the United States Internal Revenue Service reports have revealed that at least one Christian group was apparently discriminated against for it's pro-life views. Voice recordings of an IRS agent with the non-profit's president reveal the IRS agent explicitly telling the group they could not "push their religious beliefs on others." The group was denied tax-exempt status repeatedly until news of the IRS bias was recently revealed.
6/11/2013 United States (Christian Post) - The Alliance Defending Freedom posted on Monday audio files of a March 2012 phone conversation where an agent from the Internal Revenue Service tells a client from a pro-life group that they cannot apply for tax-exempt status if they "force" their religious beliefs on others.
"The IRS is a tax collector; it shouldn't be allowed to be the speech and belief police," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. "The current scandal isn't new but has merely exposed the abuse of power that characterizes this agency and threatens our fundamental freedoms."
The IRS has been under intense scrutiny after a series of scandals emerged in the past few weeks, first with the revelation that the government agency had intentionally targeted conservative groups for further scrutiny, and then at a hearing last week where lawmakers grilled the IRS on spending close to $50 million of taxpayer money on conferences and gifts over a two-year period.
Republicans and Democrats alike have said that the admitted targeting of conservative groups is unacceptable, and President Barack Obama warned that there will be "no tolerance" for those accountable for these actions.
"These actions by the IRS are an outrageous abuse of power and a breach of the public's trust. Targeting groups based on their political views is not only inappropriate but it is intolerable," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
In a transcript of the audio recording posted by the ADF, a legal ministry that advocates "for the right of people to freely live out their faith," the IRS agent says on numerous occasions that while the nonprofit group, called Pro-Life Revolution, is entitled to its religious freedoms, it cannot impose its beliefs on others.
"You reach out to woman, you can't do that. You can, you know, to educate the woman , to do, you know, you don't do that. However, you can't just like say, you know, the [unintelligible] woman, you fear the woman. You have to get the woman the opportunity to listen to you. You cannot force your religion or force your beliefs on somebody else," reads the transcript of the conversation posted by ADF.
The representative from Pro-Life Revolution, which provides support to women in abusive pregnancy situations and says that it mobilizes "the body of Christ against the evil of abortion," then asks the IRS agent if giving someone a brochure is against the rules. The IRS agent replies that it is not, since that is only educating people, but then argues that "confrontational activities" such as protesting at an abortion clinic is not acceptable.