Falwell's Partisanship Shows in Fund Appeal, AU's Lynn Tells IRS

Church & State, June 2000 | Go to article overview

Falwell's Partisanship Shows in Fund Appeal, AU's Lynn Tells IRS


More evidence has come to light that the Rev. Jerry Falwell is using a supposedly non-partisan voter mobilization drive to elect presidential candidate George W. Bush and other Republicans to public office.

Last month Americans United provided the Internal Revenue Service with a fund-raising letter from Jerry Falwell Ministries that provides compelling evidence the TV preacher's tax-exempt organization is violating federal tax law.

In a complaint filed with the IRS May 11, Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn told the federal tax agency that Falwell's appeal for donations shows his ministry is transgressing the ban on partisan politicking by tax-exempt groups.

Said Lynn, "Jerry Falwell is clearly playing fast and loose with the federal tax law. It's time for the IRS to take action."

The Falwell letter obtained by Americans United seeks funds to support his plan to register 10 million new conservative Christian voters and turn out 35 million "Bible-believing" Christian voters on Election Day this fall. The appeal includes blatantly partisan language.

In the second paragraph of the letter, Falwell complains of "personal attacks on me by Al Gore and Democrat attack-man James Carville." He later charges that Democratic presidential nominee Gore is lying about an alleged meeting between Falwell, fellow TV preacher Pat Robertson and GOP candidate Bush.

"By fabricating this false story," observes Falwell, "Mr. Gore is sending a clear signal that Christians will be the target of a focused assault by his campaign in this election. Al Gore is making no secret of the fact that he wants the 2000 Elections to be a referendum, at least in part, on whether Christian conservatives like you and me have any place in American politics."

Later Falwell adds that Gore is "openly courting the radical homosexual movement and pledging allegiance to the most extreme parts of the gay agenda."

The Lynchburg, Va.-based televangelist warns, "If Christian voters fail to vote in record-breaking numbers in 2000 ... the anti-Christian Left will very likely end up taking control of all three branches of our federal government."

Falwell concludes, "In all, 100,000,000 Americans are expected to vote in the 2000 Election. This means we can virtually guarantee victory in November by making sure that at least 35,000,000 of these voters (more than one third of the total electorate) are Bible believing Christians."

Americans United first asked the IRS to investigate the Falwell voter project on April 14 (See "He's Ba-a-a-ck!," May 2000 Church & State). The organization's May 11 follow-up complaint to the IRS includes the Falwell fund-raising letter that further demonstrates the project's partisan character. …

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Falwell's Partisanship Shows in Fund Appeal, AU's Lynn Tells IRS
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