Investigators cleared Focus on the Family of violating IRS rules that prohibit tax-exempt groups from endorsing specific candidates. In November 2005, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a political watchdog group, sent the IRS a 99-page report accusing James Dobson of publicly backing Republican candidates, and requested the revocation of Focus's tax-free status. The IRS concluded, "Dobson's reported remarks did not occur in publications of Focus on the Family, did not occur at functions of Focus on the Family, and did not involve Dr. Dobson suggesting that he was speaking as a representative of Focus on the Family."
In a related case, All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, a leading liberal congregation, is seeking an apology from the IRS for an investigation into its politicking. The IRS concluded that an All Saints sermon had included prohibited political speech, but decided against revoking the church's tax-exempt status.
An Egyptian convert to Christianity has gone into hiding following calls for his execution. Mohammed Hegazy, the first Muslim-background believer to seek to have his religion changed on his national ID card, has been threatened by clerics and, he claims, tortured by police. Though conversion is legal according to Egyptian law, many Muslims uphold an Islamic law that proscribes death for apostates.
A California couple has bequeathed $60 million to Gordon College, the largest gift in the institution's 118-year history. In response, the nondenominational liberal arts college will rename its Wenham, Massachusetts, campus after Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler. The Fowlers' undesignated gift triples Gordon's endowment of $33 million.
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Focus on the Family's Citizenlink reported that the IRS cleared the organization after a year-long investigation.
Other news about the IRS investigations includes:
IRS: Focus on Family Retains Nonprofit Status Despite Dobson's GOP Endorsements | Focus on the Family chairman James Dobson has been cleared of accusations that he endangered his organization's nonprofit status by endorsing Republican candidates in 2004, an Internal Revenue Service audit found. (Associated Press)
Pasadena church wants apology from IRS | All Saints' rector also demands that the agency clarify its findings after closing its probe into an antiwar sermon in 2004. (The Los Angeles Times)
California church leaders question | IRS investigation into war sermon (Associated Baptist Press)
All Saints challenges IRS 'vagueness' | The church will not lose its tax-exemption over the October 31, 2004, sermon. (The Christian Century)
IRS sends mixed messages to nonprofits | The IRS's actions in the past election cycle leave nonprofits, especially church organizations, concerned and uncertain about the future. (Politico)
Wikipedia has a page on Mohammed Hegazy. News about his situation includes:
Jail time extended for Christian rights workers | Muslim scholars demand convert's death. (Compass Direct)
Threats force Egyptian convert to hide | An Egyptian Muslim who converted to Christianity and then took the unprecedented step of seeking official recognition for the change said he has gone into hiding following death threats. (Associated Press)
Gordon College is a non-denominational school in Boston with about 1,500 students. The Fowlers' gift to the school attracted some media attention:
Husband, wife donate $60M to Gordon College | Gordon College was recently named one of the best colleges in the country. Today, it is also a lot richer. (The Salem News)
Santa Ana couple gives $60 million to college | Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler's donation may be largest in O.C. history. (The Orange County Register)
Gordon College to Receive $60 Million for Endowment | Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, has announced an unrestricted $60 million gift from the estate of Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler, whose grandchildren currently attend the nondenominational Christian college. (Philanthropy News Digest)
Southland Couple Gives Gordon College $60 Million | Dale E. and Sarah Fowler make school history. (Associated Press)
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