In the aftermath of evidence that the IRS has been targeting conservative non-profit groups for hostile and intrusive scrutiny, congressional hearings have focused on possible "political bias" inside that tax agency, to borrow a phrase from Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in Tuesday's hearing. While that is a valid question, there is an even larger threat at play here – one that strikes at the heart of religious freedom: IRS harassment of Christian ministries.The problem stretches back to an IRS letter in 2007 and its aftermath.
Amidst the flurry of recent reports that a large number of Tea Party non-profits had been mercilessly grilled by IRS agents as part of a mine sweep for conservative organizations, news has also surfaced that National Religious Broadcaster member groups had also been caught up in this dragnet.
Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, says that his groups were also investigated during that same time period, and he has suggested this may be, in his words, a government attempt at "intimidating us." Likewise, Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk Action non-profit group, when it applied for tax-exempt status, was advised by the IRS that it might not qualify, because it was a "partisan right wing group" that had "criticized President Obama." more >>
Although well-known Nigerian pastor T.B. Joshua has reportedly promised to pay for the medical expenses of those injured during the stampede at his Synagogue Church of All Nations in Ghana, some are demanding that the pastor step down from his post and close the church after Sunday's incident, which left four dead as thousands stormed the church's altar to receive holy water.
The controversy began on Sunday, when thousands of Ghanaians gathered at the Synagogue Church of All Nations on Spintex Road in the country's capital, Accra, to receive free holy water, which is normally sold for a small fee.
The church, which is built to house 15,000 people, could not contain the 45,000 which gathered to receive the holy water, believed to carry healing properties. more >>
One of the largest Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations in the United States is presently weighing the possibility of leaving the denomination due to theological differences.
First Presbyterian Church of Houston, founded in the early nineteenth century and with an estimated 3,600 members, voted earlier this year to enter a discernment process over the possibility of seeking dismissal.
James T. Birchfield, senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church, told The Christian Post that the congregation wants to consider where they stand in relation to the views of PC(USA). more >>
The head of the Episcopal Church has garnered outrage from some in the Anglican Communion over her claim that St. Paul of Tarsus' curing of a demon-possessed slave girl as described in the Bible was wrong.
In a sermon delivered before the Diocese of Venezuela on the island nation of Curaçao, Presiding Bishop The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori said that by driving the demon out of her Paul was "depriving her of her gift of spiritual awareness."
"Paul is annoyed, perhaps for being put in his place, and he responds by depriving her of her gift of spiritual awareness," said Jefferts Schori. more >>
The Church of Scotland's General Assembly voted Monday to allow congregations the choice of accepting openly gay ordained ministers, while allowing other parishes to opt out if their congregants disagree with the gay lifestyle.
Although the General Assembly's 700 commissioners did vote in approval of openly gay ministers on Monday, the vote must still pass a series of hurdles and will not be finalized for at least another two years.
After a six-hour debate on Monday at the annual assembly meeting in Edinburg, the commissioners voted to maintain their "current doctrine and practice in relation to human sexuality," meaning they still maintain their traditional view on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, but they compromised in providing more liberal congregations to allow gay ministers to lead their parish. more >>
An Anglican congregation in Virginia that recently lost a property suit against The Episcopal Church is asking for a rehearing before the state Supreme Court.
George Ward, senior warden of the vestry of The Falls Church Anglican, told The Christian Post that the congregation will submit a petition that may be heard by the Court.
"Our attorneys looked carefully at the opinion and they briefed our vestry on it, and the attorneys highlighted for us that the opinion is based at least in part on arguments that really had not been raised in the seven years of litigation," said Ward. "Since they had not been raised, we have not been able to either brief them or argue them before the Court. And so, by putting in a petition for a rehearing, that would enable us to argue those issues." more >>