"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Friday, May 17, 2013

IRS: Malice,or Just Stupidity?

It's hard to tell as we keep turning over rocks at the IRS.   A new story today told the tale of how the IRS asked pro-life groups to describe the "content of their prayers."  

I'm not kidding.   The content of their prayers!

Here's the story, from the Thomas More Society:

Coalition for Life of Iowa found itself in the IRS’s crosshairs when the group applied for tax exempt status in October 2008. Nearly ten months of interrogation about the group’s opposition to Planned Parenthood included a demand by a Ms. Richards from the IRS’ Cincinnati office unlawfully insisted that all board members sign a sworn declaration promising not to picket/protest Planned Parenthood. Further questioning by the IRS requested detailed information about the content of the group’s prayer meetings, educational seminars, and signs their members hold outside Planned Parenthood.
On the one hand, you might view this as typical liberal malice toward pro-life conservatives.   It is self-evident at this late date that liberalism has created a de facto religion that holds as its chief sacrament the unfettered access to abortion.   They hate us.   We get that.

But, on the other hand, how stupid do you have to be in America ca. 2013, working in a government office, to ask someone about the "content of their prayer meetings"?   Anyone who has read the newspapers even casually over the past forty years knows that children can hardly say prayers in grade school anymore, because of the so-called "separation of church and state."   How on earth did an IRS worker think that it was appropriate for the state (the IRS) to ask a private citizen about their religious practices?  

Federal law, specifically 18 U.S.C. section 242,  makes it a crime to willfully act under color of law to deprive someone of their civil liberties.   First amendment religious freedom is a civil liberty.   The IRS is a government entity acting "under color of law."   The penalty is a fine or imprisonment for up to one year.   What happened in the case described by the Thomas More Society is about as obvious a violation of this criminal statute as I can imagine.

It is not too much to say that the Cincinnati office of the IRS is an enormous criminal enterprise.  

Criminally stupid.


UPDATE:   Of course, when you have this guy as your agency's head, maybe you might get the idea that no one would care very much if you started asking conservative groups about their prayers:

This is a guy who just doesn't get it. And by "it" I mean -- freedom, democracy, the Constitution, the whole nine yards.

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