The Internal Revenue Service allegedly told two pro-life to reveal the content of their prayers and prayer meetings, according to the Thomas More Society.
An IRS office in California ordered Christian Voices for Life of Fort Bend County, Texas to explain the content of prayers “as if they were engaging in highly offensive or criminal behavior,” the Thomas More Society charged.
Agents also ordered Coalition for Life of Iowa to provide detailed information about the group’s prayer meetings.
Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) demanded that outgoing IRS commissioner Steven Miller answer questions about the incidents during Friday’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing. ”Their question, specifically asked from the IRS to the Coalition for Life of Iowa: ‘Please detail the content of the members of your organization’s prayers.’”
Shock wanted to know if that was an appropriate question for the IRS to ask.
“It pains me to say I can’t speak to that one either,” Miller replied.
The agents also told one of the pro-life groups that they could not picket or protest abortion clinics.
“The IRS was concerned about advocacy,” said Sally Wagenmaker, special counsel to the Thomas More Society. ”The (agent) said picketing and protesting is not allowed.”
She said the IRS’s role “should only be to determine whether organizations fit the section 501(c)(3) test for ‘charitable, religious, or educational’ qualification, not to inquire about the content of prayers, protests, and petitions.”
It’s high time that the IRS be called to account for its workers’ potential to trample on our constitutional rights, through such ostensibly innocuous means,” Wagenmaker said – hinting that this may only be the tip of the iceberg of IRS abuses.