Last week the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts held a hearing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). At the hearing Senator Mike Lee asked IRS Commissioner John Koskinen if the agency would take action to remove the tax exempt status of religious colleges and universities.
The IRS commissioner said religious colleges and universities will not lose there tax exempt status. Mr. Koskinen said, “we see no basis for changing our examination criteria as a result of this Supreme Court case.”
Therefore, the IRS is not planning to pursue religious colleges and universities for their religious positions on same sex marriage.
Also in the hearing Mr. Koskinen told the subcommittee that the public would have plenty of notice if the agency ever did change there examination procedures. Noting that the IRS would issue a notice for public comment if they decided to change their procedures.
Senator Lee is rightfully concerned as the Supreme court oral arguments indicated in that this exact issue will probably one day come before the court. In a statement Senator Lee was very discouraged, and said all American’s should be as well since the IRS will not disavow going after religious institutions for their religious beliefs.
Senator Lee has introduced S. 1598 the First Amendment Defense Act to ensure that people and groups are not discriminated against based on their religious beliefs.
With hundreds of private foundations dedicated to helping Christian organizations I can foresee a lot of support for religious colleges, universities, and nonprofits. If religious groups stay true to their missions they should not have a problem.
If your nonprofit, college, or university is religiously affiliated you should not worry yourself to much right now. Instead pray for the nation and stay true to your mission.
Remember that the religious exemption is written into the tax code so any change will have a lot of public reaction and comment. Mr. Koskinen seemed to indicate that nothing will change in the next two and a half years.