Watchdog and Secular Groups Want Inquiry Into Pulpit Politicking

Campaign-finance watchdogs and secularist organizations are calling on the federal government to investigate whether Catholic dioceses and an evangelical group led by the Rev. Billy Graham should lose tax breaks for taking sides in elections, Reuters reports. Separate complaints to the Internal Revenue Service allege individual bishops and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association violated their tax-exempt status by effectively advocating for President Barack Obama’s defeat.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said it would not comment on what particular bishops tell their parishioners. The Graham organization said its pre-election newspaper ads, cited in a complaint by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, did not endorse or oppose individual politicians but urged voters to back candidates who supported “biblical values.”

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