Among non-Catholic Christian leaders, there is none that I respect more than Billy Graham. My sainted mother, and if there was ever a woman more Catholic than the pope it was she, used to watch his crusades on television back in the Sixties. To me, he has always been a voice crying out in a dark world for Christ. Lacking the True Faith, he has still been a force for good in this world. Now retired from day to day management of his organization, he still commands near universal respect in this country. It therefore takes a special type of stupid to want to pick a fight with him. That is the cue for the minions of the IRS under the current administration.
The IRS inquiry, he noted, occurred months after the BGEA ran ads in April 2012 supporting a North Carolina amendment that banned same-sex marriage, which passed in May. The BGEA also ran ads last fall urging voters to consider candidates who make decisions based on “biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.”
Go here to Religion News Service to read the rest. Here is the text of the letter of Franklin Graham:
May 14, 2013
The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As an American, the recent admission by the Internal Revenue Sen/ice (IRS) that it had targeted not–for–profit organizations with “Tea Party” and “Patriot” in their names for audits is chilling. However, I write today to inform you this profiling by the IRS was not limited to conservative political organizations; indeed, it extended to religious charities–Jewish and Christian–as well.
Last April, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, headquartered in North Carolina, ran full-page ads statewide supporting the Marriage Amendment in North Carolina. We believe marriage between a man and a woman to be a moral, biblical value to be upheld. And last fall, our ministry ran newspaper ads nationally encouraging voters to “cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles
and support the nation of Israel.” The ad concluded with these words: “Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me (Billy Graham) that America will remain one nation under God.” (These ads were purchased with designated funds given by friends of our ministry for this purpose.)
To my surprise, on September 6, 2012, both Samaritan’s Purse (headquartered in Boone, NC) and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (headquartered in Charlotte, NC) received notification from the IRS that a review would be conducted for tax year ending 2010. An IRS agent arrived October 15, 2012, to conduct a review of Samaritan’s Purse; and an agent arrived on October 29, 2012, to conduct a review of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
In light of what the IRS admitted to on Friday, May 10, 2013, and subsequent revelations from other sources, I do not believe that the IRS audit of our two organizations last year is a coincidence–or justifiable. Yesterday you said, ”If you’ve got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and non-partisan way, then that’s outrageous, it is contrary to our Mr. President, the IRS has already publicly acknowledged it operated in a less than neutral and non-partisan way. We also now know that the target of their improper actions was much wider than political or Tea Party organizations. Will you take some immediate action to reassure Americans we are not in a new chapter of America’s history–repressive government rule?
After the election, we did receive official notice that our organizations continue to quality for exemption from Federal income tax, and that our returns were accepted as filed. Unfortunately, while these audits not only wasted taxpayer money, they wasted money contributed by donors for ministry purposes, as we had to spend precious resources servicing the IRS agents in our offices. I am bringing this to your attention
because I believe that someone in the Administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us. This is morally wrong and some would call it “un-American.”
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
cc: Vice President Joe Biden
I thought the copy to moron Biden was a nice touch. What the Graham organization was doing is called issues advocacy and is entirely permissible under IRS regulations. That is why the Church can call for Catholics to keep certain issues in mind when voting. It is hard, considering current revelations, not to conclude that the IRS was engaging in a clumsy attempt at intimidation prior to the presidential election last year. Other groups and individuals are coming forward with similar claims of harassment after speaking out. I think this scandal could well be the biggest one to hit Washington in the past four decades and I suspect we are still just scratching the surface of what went on between the IRS and the Obama administration. Stay tuned.