Take Action: Demand Taxpayer Representation on Church Tax Commission

On Wednesday, April 13, it was announced that a commission formed at the request of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to "spearhead an independent national effort" to investigate issues related to tax loopholes for religious organizations is composed exclusively of evangelical Christians -- several of whom are directly benefitting from current tax inequalities in our system.

Without representation from independent interests, other religious denominations, and secular nonprofits, there is absolutely no way such a panel can offer objective guidance for much-needed reform of the flagrant tax abuses routinely committed by churches and other religious organizations.

The Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations was designed to investigate issues including whether churches should be required to file similar tax paperwork to other nonprofit organizations, including Form 990; whether legislation is needed to curb flagrant abuses of tax breaks for clergy housing; whether the current prohibition against political campaigning by churches and other nonprofits should be repealed or modified; and, whether legislation is needed to clarify tax rules covering “love offerings” received by some clergy.

Please help SCA protest this blatant conflict of interest by writing to Senator Grassley and Dan Busby, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, telling them to not sell out taxpayers to evangelical interests. Demand that American taxpayers and other voices be included in examining ways to reform religious tax laws.

If you live in Iowa, you can contact Senator Grassley by inserting your zip code below. Non-Iowa residents can contact Senator Grassley here. To contact Dan Busby, simply use the form below.

For non-Iowa residents who contact Senator Grassley through his website, below is a suggested letter to send. You are encouraged to revise, add to, and personalize your message. When you contact the Senator through his website, please also send a copy to action@secular.org, to help us keep track of our campaign.

Suggested text for Grassley letter:

Dear Senator Grassley,
I'm writing to voice my dismay that the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations has failed to include impartial representation of multiple religious and secular nonprofit interests.

The recent announcement that all 15 of the panel's members are evangelical Christians means that the commission will have no credibility outside its own religious community to provide objective recommendations for reforming tax laws affecting religious organizations.

I strongly urge you to do all within your power to ensure that the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability restructure the Commission's membership to include independent financial experts, as well as representatives of other religious traditions and secular nonprofits.

You started this fight to make churches accountable on behalf of taxpayers; please don't drop the ball or kick it down the street. The conflicts of interest with the panel's current composition are just too obvious.

Thanks for your time.