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Churches Will Not Lose Non-profit Status for Supporting FMA, says Liberty Counsel

( [email protected] ) Jul 07, 2004 06:56 PM EDT

Liberty Counsel, a pro-family legal counsel, is reassuring churches that they will not lose their non-profit status if they participate the July 11th “Protect Marriage Sunday,” which aims to rally Christian support for the Federal Marriage Amendment before the Senate votes on the measure on July 12.

“Some groups have sent erroneous letters to churches, stating that if they promote the passage of the FMA, the churches will jeopardize their tax-exempt status. These scare tactics are bogus,” read a news release from Liberty Counsel.

Sunday’s event will be sponsored by Family Research Council and Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

According to a 1934 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code, of non-profit organizations or 501(c)(3) are not banned from participating in lobbying activities, given the lobbying activities do not constitute a majority of its activities.

“No church has ever lost its tax-exempt status for engaging in lobbying activities,” stated Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel.

In two cases addressing non-profit organizations’ participating in lobbying activities, the IRS ruled non-profits could devote at least 5% of its overall activities to lobbying activities but said devoting 20% was too much.

Pro-family groups have encouraged pastors to preach about the importance of traditional marriage during their sermons this Sunday and urge their congregants to tell their Senators to vote on the FMA.

"Pastors and other church leaders should shed their moral laryngitis,” said Staver, who previously served as a pastor before joining Liberty Counsel.

He concluded, “The battle over marriage as the union of one man and one woman is the most important social battle of our lifetime. Churches and other communities of faith should and must vocally and actively support the preservation of marriage as the union of one man and one woman."