Originally published August 27 2015
IRS now seeks to utterly destroy all Christian colleges by revoking their tax-exempt status
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The head of the Internal Revenue Service has made a weak and unconvincing pledge that his agency would never intentionally target Christian colleges and other religious-themed institutions over their views regarding gay marriage.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in late July John Koskinen, the IRS chief, was asked if he would ensure that the IRS would not take any action against religious academia if said institutions did not update their policies to be more accommodating to same-sex marriage.
"I can make that commitment," Koskinen said in response to a question by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.
The hearing took place in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision upholding gay marriage as an equal protection issue earlier in June. Fears among religious institutions has increased exponentially since the ruling, with many believing the Obama administration would direct the IRS to revoke the tax exempt status of religious organizations like churches and universities if they refused to recognize and accommodate gay marriage due to religious objections.
Leaving open the possibility
During testimony, Koskinen assured Lee and the Judiciary panel that the IRS does not punish religious groups for failing to accommodate gay marriage, like allowing same-sex couples to live in married student housing, and would not as long as he is in charge.
But, as the Christian Post reported, Koskinen left open the possibility that tax exempt statuses of Christian schools could be examined at some point in the future.
Lee introduced legislation in the Senate in July that, if enacted, would prohibit the federal government from using any means to deprive individuals or organizations of their First Amendment religious freedom of expression regarding marriage. During his questioning, he asked Koskinen of Christian colleges losing tax exempt status might be a problem going forward following the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling.
Lee noted that, during oral arguments before the high court earlier this year, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli told justices that it "is going to be an issue" when he was asked by Justice Samuel Alito. Lee asked Koskinen if he shared Verilli's view and if that is a legitimate concern.
"The [subcommittee] chairman, [Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a GOP presidential contender] last week, asked the same question in a letter asking for our response and we responded to the chairman and we have responded publicly that at this time, we see no basis for changing our examination criteria as a result of this Supreme Court case," Koskinen said.
'We can't predict what may happen later'
Not satisfied with that answer, Lee pressed Koskinen further.
"When you say 'at this time,' is that meant to qualify or restrict your answer or are you saying there is no basis upon which you could revisit tax-exempt status?" Lee asked.
"At this time there is no basis for us to revisit tax-exempt status on that that grounds. We will continue, obviously, to ensure that those who enjoy tax-exempt status are still doing the work they said they were going to do," Koskinen explained. "But that exam and those reviews will continue as they always have."
Lee, formerly a federal prosecutor, remained troubled by what he obviously perceived as Koskinen hedging his answer with the phrase, "at this time," so he further pressed the IRS chief as to whether he used that language to open the potential for the tax agency to reconsider its position at some time in the future.
"I don't mean to leave uncertainty there. It's not the IRS's position to make public policy. We implement the laws as they stand," Koskinen said.
"It is our view right now in terms of overall lay of the land that there is no basis at this point to make any different change in our review policies and our exam policies," he added. "We can't predict over the next years what is going to happen in terms of decisions that will be made in public policy but those aren't decisions that we are going to make."
That answer won't satisfy the tens of millions of Americans who remain suspicious of the Obama administration, given its past reputation of adopting progressive-Left positions and selective enforcement of federal laws and regulations.
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