Nonprofit Newswire | To Hell With Tax Exemption, Says the Father

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August 18, 2010; Source: Renew America | The author of this Renew America column is apparently a well-known Catholic writer on the connection of faith and sports (he is said to have coined the term, “Cathletics”), but here he delves into politics. His theme is that Catholic nonprofits have to begin speaking out on political issues directly, and “to HELL with the tax exemption,” quoting the “FOR profit pro-life leader” Randall Terry.

He cites the founder of the nonprofit Human Life International, Father Paul Marx, saying that gay marriage will be “the end . . . of Christian civilization” and joins Father Thomas Euteneuer, the current head of Human Life International, in bemoaning the lack of Catholic protest against “Elena ‘the Pagan’ Kagan.”

What’s needed according to the author is a Catholic mobilization against the “Culture of Death” that he and others associate with President Obama, and that means speaking out against the politicians associated with that culture, naming names, and risking—or dropping—the nonprofit status that prevents partisan political activity by 501(c)(3)s. He certainly holds a grudge against nonprofits, endorsing the view of the head of the for-profit RealCatholic TV that “many so-called Catholic groups are actually run by liberals who support Obama and his pro-death agenda” and that “ironically the heads of not-for-profits usually live a much more comfortable lifestyle than their so-called Catholic ‘profit’ counterparts.”

Perhaps Fr. Euteneuer, described as an exorcist, might exorcise the IRS and FEC prohibitions against partisan political electioneering by charities and churches that receive tax deductible donations. Surprisingly, he would get support from many parts of the nonprofit community, from liberals as well as from those who believe, that “no Christian in good conscience can vote for Barack Obama.”

There is an odd de facto left/right coalition that feels choked by the political limitations of charitable status. If religious or secular recipients of charitable donations are allowed to go electioneering as part of their program activities, how will that impact the charitable, nonpartisan activities of the nonprofit sector?—Rick Cohen