What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : Separation of Church & State : H.R. 2357. Churches and Campaign Activities/Passage of Bill to Erode Separation of Church and State By Allowing Religious Groups to Conduct Campaign Activities and Still Retain Their Tax Exempt Status. (2002 house Roll Call 429)
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H.R. 2357. Churches and Campaign Activities/Passage of Bill to Erode Separation of Church and State By Allowing Religious Groups to Conduct Campaign Activities and Still Retain Their Tax Exempt Status.
house Roll Call 429     Oct 02, 2002
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

Non-profit organizations that do not engage in political activity (such as raising money on behalf of candidates) are exempt from paying taxes; the relevant section of the tax code is 501(c)(3). Congressman Herger (R-CA) introduced legislation in the House which would change the tax code to allow religiously affiliated groups to carry out political campaign activities and still maintain their tax exempt status so long as their campaign activities were not a "substantial part" of their work. Progressives opposed the bill because, in their view, religious groups should not receive favorable treatment vis-à-vis other non-profits (such as children's groups and humanitarian aid organizations). Moreover, Progressives argued, the bill would erode the constitutional separation of church and state; tax-free donations to the church, in their view, should not be used for partisan political purposes. A two-thirds majority vote was required to suspend House rules and allow for consideration of the measure. The motion to suspend the rules was defeated on a 178- 239 vote and the bill was rejected.

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