IRS denies tax exempt status to Texas religious group, argues prayer, Bible study benefit GOP

An Internal Revenue Service official has denied tax-exempt status to a Texas prayer and Bible study group, ruling that such activities benefit "the private interests" of the Republican Party.

"You do not qualify as an organization described in IRS Section 501(c)(3). You engage in prohibited political campaign intervention," Stephen A. Martin, director of the IRS Office of Exempt Organizations Rulings and Agreements, said in a letter to Christians Engaged, the Garland, Texas-based group, according to The Epoch Times.

Groups formed under the IRS's so-called 501(c)(3) are considered charitable organizations and have tax-exempt status as long as they engage in no political campaign activity and limited lobbying and other political efforts. 

Martin's letter, dated May 18, was made public Wednesday by First Liberty Institute, a Texas-based law firm that specializes in religious freedom cases. 
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