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This Won’t Turn Out Well

The IRS prepares to enforce Obamacare’s contraception mandate.

Jun 17, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 38 • By ASHLEY E. MCGUIRE
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As details of the IRS scandal continue to emerge, it’s evident that religious values were indeed scrutinized by bureaucrats. A growing number of religious groups and charities are coming forward to report delays in their applications for tax-exempt status, including the Catholics United Education Fund, Christian Voices for Life, and Family Talk Action. Others, like Samaritan’s Purse, underwent audits or other IRS scrutiny that seemed out of left field. One targeted group, the Coalition for Life of Iowa, was asked by the IRS about the content of its prayers. 

What’s more, Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS’s division on tax-exempt organizations who was placed on administrative leave last month after declining to testify before a House committee, was rewarded with that job after a history of harassing religious people in a previous position as head of enforcement at the Federal Election Commission from 1986 to 2001.

Having lost whatever reputation it had for politically neutral enforcement of the tax code, the IRS, come August 1, will nevertheless gain new authority to determine what constitutes religious activity and which religious employers are entitled to conscience rights under Obamacare. If the case for repealing this unjust intrusion on the free exercise of religion was always strong, in recent weeks it’s gotten stronger still.

Ashley E. McGuire is a senior fellow with the Catholic Association and the editor of the women’s web magazine AltCatholicah

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