Thomas Jefferson wrote in regards to Religious Freedom: “… no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious Worship place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief…”.
On Tuesday, Franklin Graham wrote a letter to President Obama to inform him that the Billy Graham Evangelical Association was also a target in the recent Internal Revenue Service’s audits of not-for-profit organizations. He outlined in his two page letter how the audit came on the heels of the ministry’s newspaper ads that supported the Marriage Amendment in North Carolina. The ad ran nationally in the fall of 2012 before the election. Here is the ad in its entirety:
On September 6, 2012 two Graham ministries, Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, received notice that an audit would be conducted for the 2010 tax year.
With the recent revelation that politically conservative organizations were targeted by the IRS, it is not a coincidence that the Graham ministries would receive an audit after a public display of their religious beliefs in light of the election. As a Christian American I uphold these same beliefs and as a voter, I too felt the vital importance of casting my ballot in support of the same biblical principles. This revelation that a ministry with profound standing in this country could be targeted by my government is not only disgraceful but extremely dangerous. Do we have a repressive government that is intimidating faith believing people?
Billy Graham’s ad was uniquely American in its nature and context. Funded by private donations the ad was a public display of faith in the square. A basic principle that our Founders held was freedom of religion and I believe they would whole heartedly agree with the purpose of the ad above the context. Franklin Graham described the IRS target as “morally wrong and unethical” and even referenced what I believe it is, “un-American”.
I would hope that our President not only responds personally to Franklin Graham but would take action against a government organization that threatens the First Amendment. I realize that we have a President who has done little in regards to support Israel, who is an outspoken supporter of abortion and who now believes marriage is not just between a man and a woman. However, as a leader of this nation he can push his own beliefs aside and take action against a government entity that would threaten and intimidate a religious organization and ultimately religious freedom in this country. His response will not only determine the actions against the IRS but will define what this administration believes in regards to our Constitutional liberty.