Christians Engaged is a group-based in Garland, Texas. It has a simple purpose, to engage Christians in politics to advance moral causes based upon Biblical principles.
CHRISTIANS ENGAGED exists to awaken, motivate, educate, and empower ordinary believers in Jesus Christ:
PRAY – Commit to pray for 5 minutes a week for your nation.
VOTE – Commit to vote in every election in 2021-2022.
ENGAGE – Commit to engage in some form of political education or activism for the furtherance of our nation.
To further their goals, they applied to the IRS for tax-exempt status. This should be a no-brainer. If you visit the website, it is very clearly non-partisan in nature. That, however, was not how the IRS saw it. In a letter from IRS Office of Exempt Organizations Rulings and Agreements Director Stephen Martin, the group was accused, without evidence, of engaging in “prohibited political campaign intervention.” This is from the letter:
Application of law
You are not as described in IRC Section 501(c)(3) because you are not operated exclusively for religious and educational purposes. Specifically, you are engaged in prohibited political campaign invention. You are also operated for substantial nonexempt purposes in contravention to Treas. Reg. Section 1.501(c)(3)- I (c)(l).
You are not described in Treas. Reg. Section 1.501(c)(3)-1(c)(3)(i) in that you spend a substantial amount of time and resources devoted to activities that are typical of an action organization. Treas. Reg. Section 1.501(c)(3)- l(c)(3)(iii) further defines an “action” organization as one that plans to participate and intervene in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office. You instruct individuals on issues that are prominent in political campaigns and instruct them in what the Bible says about the issue and how they should vote. These issues include the sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, and biblical justice. These issues generally distinguish candidates and are associated with political party platforms. These facts preclude you from exemption under IRC Section 50l(c)(3).
You are similar to Situation 16 in Revenue Ruling 2007-41. Certain aspects are weighed in determining campaign intervention as evidenced within the ruling. While you educate voters on what the bible says about issues, your educational activities are not neutral. The topics typically are affiliated with distinct candidates and specific political party platforms.
You are not similar to Situation 19 in Revenue Ruling 2007-41. Information you present and on your website is not neutral. You instruct individuals on how Christians should use the Bible and vote the Bible.
You are like the organization described in American Campaign Academy, because you are serving the private interests of the [Republican] party more than incidentally in contravention to Treas. Reg. Section 1.50l(c)(3)- l(d)(l)(ii) as well as serving a substantial nonexempt private purpose. For example, you educate believers on national issues that are central to their belief in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. Specifically, you educate Christians on what the bible (sic) says in areas where they can be instrumental including the areas of sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, biblical justice, freedom of speech, defense, and borders and immigration, U.S. and Israel relations. The bible (sic) teachings are typically affiliated with the [Republican] party and candidates. This disqualifies you from exemption under IRS Section 50I(c)(3).
You do not qualify as an organization described in IRC Section 501(c)(3). You engage in prohibited political campaign intervention. You are also not operated exclusively for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of Section 50l (c)(3), because you operate for a substantial non-exempt private purpose and for the private interests of the [Republican] party.