A church whose pastor is a leader in the local pro-life efforts has earned an Internal Revenue Service demand for an audit of the organization’s books by posting its biblically mandated support for life on its marquee.
The IRS demand arrived recently for Pastor Mark Holick and the Spirit One Christian Center at which he serves in Wichita, Kan., and he says it’s a result of the church’s work against abortion in a city that features one of the world’s premiere late-term abortionists, George Tiller.
“He not only kills late-term babies but, if parents so desire, he will baptize the babies before he burns them to ashes in his (on premises) incinerator,” the church statement said of Tiller.
Holick said local Christian ministries have been effective in bringing an end to the Wichita abortion industry, leaving only Tiller’s abortion clinic operating. Now he’s also facing criminal charges alleging he failed to follow state law in performing those procedures.
But Holick said the message he’s getting is straightforward: “Don’t touch abortion – if you do, we will come after you!”
“An examination of your records may be necessary in order to resolve our concerns about your organization’s possible political campaign intervention,” the letter, from Marsha A. Ramirez, director of examinations for the IRS, said. “Records to be examined include financial and accounting records, such as check registers and/or canceled checks, records of contributions made to candidates, solicitations made on behalf of candidates, and evidence of any in-kind support for political campaigns.”
Holick earlier had responded to the IRS demand that he answer 31 questions about the church and its ministries, including a series of pro-life messages posted on the church’s marquee, and he did so by citing the biblical instructions for what he was doing.
He suggested at that time that the IRS, perhaps, should brush up on the freedoms assured U.S. citizens regarding religion and speech before making such demands in the future.
An announcement about the IRS crackdown on moral statements by the church
But he confirmed to WND now that all of the evidence that the IRS cited in its demand for documentation related to the pro-life messages and activities Spirit One has participated in.
“This is simply the latest step in an effort to silence our Christian witness outside abortion mills,” said Holick. “The IRS is a powerful weapon in the hands of those who desire to censor Christianity and remove gentle Christians from proclaiming Christ at these gates of hell!”
One of the signs on the Spirit One church marquee
“The IRS asked us to answer 31 questions concerning our efforts in the pro-life movement in Wichita,” he continued. “We answered every one. Now it wants to audit us based on the ‘evidence’ it has.”
He said every document cited in the IRS demand relates “directly and specifically” to the sanctity of human life which is taught and affirmed in the Bible, the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, “and a plethora of other Scriptures from Moses and the Prophets to Jesus and the Apostles.”
“This is a blatant act of tyranny by the federal government to silence the Christian Church, to deny religious freedoms, and to treat the First Amendment and the Constitution as so much trash,” Holick said.
Holick told WND he isn’t sure of the impact of the IRS demands, but he’s waiting for a meeting to be scheduled that he hopes will clarify some of the questions the IRS has raised.
He said the organization’s books are in order, so that is not a problem. But he questioned why “every single one of those pieces of documentation” had to do with his pro-life efforts.
When Holick responded to the IRS’ initial demand that he answer 31 questions, he did so, but he said the church would not stop teaching and preaching the Bible “even if it relates to contemporary issues in the world.”
Holick said one sign into which the IRS is inquiring read: “Sebelius accepted $300,000.00 from abortionist Tiller, price of 1000 babies.”
A Christian organization needs to be able to talk of the moral issues of the day – including abortion, Holick noted. The sign just told of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ connections to the abortion industry.
“They felt like they had a reasonable concern that we had been involved in political activity,” Holick said. But he said politics are of no interest to the church; issues of moral character addressed in the Bible are.
“The church does not intend to engage in political intervention activity as prohibited by federal law and the United States Constitution,” he told the IRS. “But the church will not stop communicating its Biblical message, even if it relates to contemporary issues in the world.
“Thus,” Holick continued, “the church cannot agree to not engage in any activity that may favor or oppose a candidate. Simply preaching the word of God on a moral issue which a candidate is opposed, may be deemed to oppose a candidate. While it is the church’s policy not to oppose or endorse a candidate for office, it will not stop preaching God’s word.”
He continued: “The United States Constitution guarantees that Spirit One will be able to freely exercise its religion, and that Congress will not pass any law restricting that right. This is all Spirit One wants to do – communicate God’s word.
“The 1st Amendment of the Constitution is a respected and renowned oracle celebrated all over the nations of the world. It is quite specific and clear; ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…,’” Holick said.
He said the IRS also raised questions about a voter information guide that was handed out in Wichita, although his church did not sponsor it, as well as an abortion-issue related e-mail he had forwarded.
He said he didn’t know who would have filed a complaint about his church with the IRS. “We’re a very vocal pro-family, pro-life church,” he said. “That creates enemies.”
“These are not political issues, these are Gospel issues, Christian issues,” he said.
To another question about whether certain signs were “political,” Holick wrote:
“The signs were not political activities, but rather, were examples of how Spirit One communicates its religious message. The signs all pertained to respect for life and family, a key and fundamental teaching of the scriptures (see Ps. 139:13-15, Jer. 1:4-5, Lk. 1:41-44, Lk. 1:15, Ge. 25:23, Gal. 1:15, Ge. 1:27, Job 10:12, Pr. 24:11-12, Jr. 7:2, Jr. 22:3, 17, Ex. 23:7, Ex. 20:13, Rv. 21:8, Ge. 9:6, 2 Ki. 17:16-20, Jr. 32:35, Jr. 7:31, Mt. 19:5.).”
Holick said the congregation of about 100, meeting as a church for 16 years already, has been strong throughout the challenge by the federal government.
Holick also told the IRS that the signs all “are spiritual messages that communicate God’s truth, or are directly related to messages in the Bible.” And to the question “why,” he said: “The purpose is to obey the Lord, proclaim His Word (the Gospel), and establish His kingdom.”
“The following are just a few of the many Scripture references related to the purpose of the signs:
-to lift up Jesus (Ps. 24:7-9)
-to rebuke sin (Lk. 3:8)
-to destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn. 3:8)
-to save babies (Lv. 20:1-5)
-to be honest (Is. 59:14)
-to take a righteous stand (Ps. 9:8)
-to rescue the weak and needy (Ps. 12:5)
-to demonstrate true religion by loving preborn neighbors (Jm. 1:27)
-to call a wicked city to repent (Ex. 23:7)
-to educate and inform about Jesus who IS truth (Jn. 14:6)
-to obey the call to preach, including rebuking (Acts 16:10)
-to stand in the gap against evil (Ez. 22:30)
-to confront hypocrites (1 Ki. 18:17-18)
-to confront immoral politicians (1 Ki. 18)
-to declare the whole counsel of God (Jn. 14:26)
-to disciple children (Pr. 22:6)
-to save America (Dt. 28)
-to stop the shedding of innocent blood (Jr. 22:17)
-to not allow the city to be comfortable while babies are murdered (Pr. 1:32)
-to glorify God (Ps. 86:12)
-to destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn. 3:8)
-to make the Pastor’s calling and election sure (2 Pe. 1:3)
-to work out the Pastor’s salvation with fear and trembling (Ph. 2:12)
-to take dominion for King Jesus over this wicked city (Dn. 7:14)
-to promote the fear of God, for it is the beginning of wisdom (Pr. 9:10)
-to spark a Revival (Jl. 2:12-13)
-to separate the wheat from the chaff in this church and other churches (Is. 40:24)
-to obey Ephesians 5:11 and reprove the fruitless deeds of darkness (Ep. 5:11)
-to act like a Christian (Jm. 1:27 – what the Bible calls true religion)
-to train others how to act and speak (Jm. 2:22)
-to expose and confront evildoers (Ez. 20:4)
-to prophesy against wickedness (Is. 58:1)
-as an act of worship (Jn. 14:15)”
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