To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization [...] may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities.and:
Section 501(c)(3) organizations are restricted in how much political and legislative (lobbying) activities they may conduct.Read it again: It may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities. But by throwing $20 million at Prop 8, that appears to be exactly what the Mormon Church is doing. The same applies to those smaller Catholic groups who also contributed a significant amount of money to the cause of inequality. So is this enough to revoke the Mormons' tax-exempt status? I am not a tax attorney, but I can certainly hope so. And there already are various grassroots efforts in place to start the process. I hope these efforts work, but I am not optimistic. The Mormon Church is big, rich, and powerful. And the IRS code is worded somewhat vaguely when it says that an organization "may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities." The word "substantial" here is key, and it may be ambiguous enough to give the Mormons a semantic loophole to slide through. Time will tell. But I believe that churches, or any other tax-exempt organization, should be subject to the rules. There is good reason why our Founding Fathers fought so hard to write Church-State separation into this nation's Constitution.