Sunday, attendees at Catholic churches around the country were read a letter making it clear that the Catholic Church opposes the Obama-Administration-driven decision indicating that churches and religious universities will not be exempt from the Health and Human Services requirement to offer birth control as part of health care coverage. The letter further insists that the Catholic Church will not comply with this order, and urges members to oppose the decision. The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I write to you concerning an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just been dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people — the Catholic population — and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.
In so ruling, the Obama Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Obama Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.
We cannot–we will not–comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.
And therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I would also recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience, to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Obama Administration’s decision.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Alexander K. Sample
Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample
Bishop of Marquette
Under section 1.501(c)(3)-1(c)(3)(iii) of the Internal Revenue Code and related rulings such as Revenue Ruling 2007-41, churches and charities are “absolutely prohibited” from participating in any public office campaign “on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate.” Activities specifically cited as qualifying as participation or intervention include “the publication or distribution of written statements or the making of oral statements on behalf of or in opposition to such a candidate.”
With upcoming presidential elections, the unprecedented and widely distributed condemnation of the Obama Administration is a clear violation of the Internal Revenue Code, which defines a 501(c)(3) organization as one “which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.” The Catholic church no longer qualifies as a 501(c)(3) organization and should be taxed. Considering the U.S. Catholic Church has a $100 billion operating budget, it is likely we could fund the entire NASA budget out of taxes on the Catholic Church (or at least roll back recent budget cuts).
If you care about this issue, please help in reporting the Catholic church for 501(c)(3) violations:
- Fill out Form 13909: Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint (Referral) Form
- Prepare a personal letter indicating your concern about this violation and your desire for the U.S. Catholic Church to be investigated for 501(c)(3) violations. Consider including a copy of the above violating letter as well as any news articles further making the point that the Catholic Church is abusing its tax-exempt status.
- Bundle the above documents and send your complaint to the IRS:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax: (214) 413-5415
- Mail: IRS EO Classification, Mail Code 4910DAL, 1100 Commerce Street, Dallas TX 75242-1198