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Religious leaders want IRS investigations of Ohio churches

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Call me old fashioned, but I kind of like the separation of church and state that our founding fathers included. Obviously I am not the only one.

In their complaint, the clergy members contend that the two Columbus-area churches, Fairfield Christian Church and the World Harvest Church, which were widely credited with getting out the Ohio vote for President Bush in 2004, have allowed their facilities to be used by Republican organizations, promoted the candidate, J. Kenneth Blackwell, among their members and otherwise violated prohibitions on political activity by tax-exempt groups.

They are asking the I.R.S. to examine whether the churches' tax exemptions should be revoked and are requesting that Mark W. Everson, the federal tax commissioner, seek an injunction to stop what they consider improper activities.

Thirty-one clergy members representing a variety of Christian and Jewish denominations signed the complaint, which was shown to the news media on Sunday. Rabbi Harold J. Berman said he had signed because he was concerned that the line between church and state was becoming blurred. "I think government is clearly impaired when churches get too actively involved in government," he said, "and I think religion gets impaired when government acts in religious affairs."
If churches want to support candidates, don't expect to receive tax exempt status. Let's see how long the IRS takes to respond to this complaint.

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