The Obama administration's Internal Revenue Scandal (IRS) has stretched well beyond the confines of the purely political sphere, with at least one Jewish group claiming that it may have also been targeted. On Tuesday, the Billy Graham Evangelical Association (BGEA), a Christian group, added to the chorus, claiming that it, too, was allegedly targeted by the IRS.
The Reverend Billy Graham looks-on while seated beside his son, Rev. Franklin Graham, during the memorial service for George Beverly Shea at Anderson Auditorium in Montreat, N.C., Sunday, April 21, 2013. Shea passed away April 16 at the age of 104. He will be buried in a private service on the grounds of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte on Monday. Credit: AP
Franklin Graham, a faith leader and the son of Billy Graham, the man for which the organization is named, wrote a letter to President Barack Obama this week, alleging that both the BGEA and his other organization, Samaritan's Purse, were unfairly targeted. WYFF-TV has more:
In the letter, Franklin Graham notes that the BGEA did run ads supporting the marriage amendment in North Carolina last April.
The ads also encouraged voters to support candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles.
Graham says the IRS agents showed up in October to review the books.
Franklin Graham calls the reviews attempted intimidation a waste of money, morally wrong, unethical and un-American in the letter to Obama.
See a portion of the letter, below (and read the note in its entirety here):
Photo Credit: Screen shot from BGEA letter to President Barack Obama
As noted, it was during the 2012 campaign that the BGEA ran controversial advertisements supporting traditional marriage (but these ads came weeks after the IRS notified the group that an audit would occur).
As TheBlaze reported in October, the campaign encouraged Christians to "vote Biblical values." Following its release, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist non-profit, sued the IRS, claiming that it was failing to enforce tax law against religious organizations that seemed to be violating it by endorsing candidates; the group cited a portion of this campaign as an example.
The BGEA effort and its associated ads never explicitly named a candidate that religious voters should aim to support, however it did discuss issues that led to the notion that Republican Mitt Romney was the organization's preferred choice.
“The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren and this great nation is crucial. As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last,” the text on the main ad read. “I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.”
Mitt Romney (L) speaks with the Reverend Billy Graham (C) and his son Franklin (R) during a visit to the Graham's Cabin in Montreat, North Carolina, on October 11, 2012. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
But considering the timeline, if the Christian organizations were truly targeted, it likely had more to do with support for the North Carolina gay marriage amendment earlier in the year than the latter general election biblical values campaign. Regardless, of the IRS's review of the Christian organizations, Franklin Graham said that he does not believe the targeting was a coincidence.
“I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us," he wrote in the letter. "This is morally wrong and unethical – indeed some would call it ‘un-American.”