Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service asking them to investigate the US Conference of Catholic Bishops over recent press reports that a number of bishops have abused their positions to advocate against the reelection of President Barack Obama.
Their actions could be in violation of their tax exempt status.
Illinois Bishop Daniel Jenky has required every priest in his diocese to read a statement attacking Obama for what whe claims is an assault upon religious freedom. He has threatened every Catholic who does not vote the way he orders with eternal damnation.
CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said that “This weekend, the Catholic bishops plan to use every tool in their arsenal, including warning parishioners that they may go to hell, to promote the candidacy of Governor Mitt Romney. While the bishops are free to hold their own opinions, tax law is clear that this sort of political activity is prohibited.”
New York Bishop Nichoals Di Marzio, Wisconsin Bishop David Ricken, Alaska Bishop Edward J. Burns, and Virginia Bishop Paul Loverde have also attacked the Obama administration and largely told their flocks that voting for Democrats would betray their faith in Christ and would endanger their souls. In order to qualify for tax exempt status, an organization must not participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any particular candidate.
Sloan also said “In completely unqualified terms, the IRS should immediately tell the Conference of Catholic Bishops that the conduct of its members is beyond the pale. If the Catholic bishops would like to continue receiving the tremendous tax benefits on which they rely, they should follow U.S. law and stay out of American politics.”
Back in the 1960′s, two priests were forced out of the Catholic Church for their decision to get directly involved in American politics. The Vatican has tried, under Pope Benedict, to interfere in several nation’s political systems and has largely ignored the neutrality that most Twentieth Century Popes sought to maintain. The Vatican has also tried to claim national sovereignty so as to prevent their priests from being arrested on child molestation charges.