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Franklin Graham: IRS targeted ministries
"I do not believe the IRS audits of our two organizations last year is a coincidence," Franklin Graham wrote to the president.
May 15th, 2013
09:50 AM ET

Franklin Graham: IRS targeted ministries

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

(CNN) - Franklin Graham, one of the country's most prominent evangelicals, says the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service included two of his ministries.

"I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us," Graham wrote in a letter Tuesday to President Barack Obama. The evangelical leader is the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham.

Graham said the IRS contacted the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, a North Carolina-based ministry, after it ran newspaper ads in that state in April encouraging support for an amendment against same-sex marriage. The group also bought newspaper ads in November encouraging Christians to vote for candidates who oppose same-sex marriage, support Israel and "base their decisions on biblical principles."

Graham said the ads were purchased by funds donated by "friends of our ministry."

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In September, the IRS informed the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, an international aid group, that it would review the groups' records for the tax year ending in 2010, according to Graham. IRS agents conducted the review in October, Graham said.

The organizations, both of which are run by Graham, later received notice that they remain eligible for federal tax exemptions, he said.

"I do not believe the IRS audits of our two organizations last year is a coincidence - or justifiable," Graham said in the letter to Obama.

The IRS did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment. The agency has acknowledged that it gave extra scrutiny to tea party groups applying for federal tax exemptions. The Treasury Department's inspector general said in a report that the IRS' use of "inappropriate criteria"  ended in May 2012.

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Obama said Tuesday that he has directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to hold IRS employees accountable for "these failures."

"But regardless of how this conduct was allowed to take place, the bottom line is, it was wrong," Obama said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Billy Graham • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (1,354 Responses)
  1. seamus mcdermott

    Ah, poor Mr. Grahm. How the rich are made to suffer...

    May 19, 2013 at 8:17 am |
  2. Reality

    AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

    Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

    "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)(As do the Grahams)

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    May 19, 2013 at 5:56 am |
  3. Whitehawk

    When I was very young, I met Dr. Graham when he preached with my uncle (3 ministers in our family). I've always respected him, even when not in agreement. I don't remember him as being overly political, but his son has taken a different approach. Even Christ spoke of a separation between faith and politics (render unto Caesar, etc.), but that, along with not bearing false witness seem to be on the ignore list.

    May 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
  4. STA STA

    Franklin Graham is a useless, sub-human maggot, and so is his sister.

    May 18, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  5. Ck on Louis Vuitton Outlet USA Bob

    LV Outlet Prices Ck on Louis Vuitton Outlet USA Bob http://louisvuittonoutletj3.blogspot.com/2013/05/ck-on-louis-vuitton-outlet-usa-bob.html

    May 18, 2013 at 8:28 am |
  6. achepotle

    I want the IRS to target these circus phonies.

    May 18, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • Auntie Krist

      There is nothing illegal about fleecing the innocent, and the desparate out of ten percent of what they earn and are least likely to be able to part with in exchange for fairy-tale promises... so long as the IRS says you're legit. It is unethical and sleazy, but since these charlatans know there is no gawwwwwwd to prevent it, we can only hope the IRS goes after them and puts them in the poor house (though their cult-followers will pour in donations). It's the world's greatest scam and "America's Pastor" has mastered the art... I doubt he they are smart enough to touch him.

      May 19, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things
    Prayer changes things

    May 18, 2013 at 6:38 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Being a lying troll is not healthy for anyone.

      May 18, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things
      Prayer changes things
      Proven

      May 19, 2013 at 6:49 am |
    • seamus mcdermott

      My prayers cancel out your prayers.

      May 19, 2013 at 8:15 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!'

      May 20, 2013 at 9:37 am |
  8. sillybeebo

    As long as churches aren't telling people which way to vote on certain issues and as long as they aren't telling people which candidate to vote for, they should be able to keep their tax-exempt status. If they aren't following those rules, their tax-exempt status should be revoked.

    May 17, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • kevin001

      just as Ricky implied I didnt even know that anyone able to get paid $6422 in a few weeks on the internet. did you read this web page .............. Fox85. ℂOℳ

      May 18, 2013 at 2:29 am |
    • beelzebubbles

      Well said, Beebo... you're only silly if you won't marry me...

      May 19, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
  9. Angel Moronic

    Clearly lying about your status as a non-profit in order to engage political activities. Very saintly indeed.

    May 17, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
  10. Reality

    From the original statement:

    The "non-profit" ripoffs – some comparisons:

    -from guidestar.org

    Rev. Franklin Graham/Christian $800,000+/yr.

    Rev. Billy Graham/Christian $400,000/yr

    May 17, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  11. Anna

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oY9qx5OuKGY&w=640&h=360]

    May 17, 2013 at 9:36 am |
  12. atomD21

    Any religious group that wants to be publicly active in the political arena needs to lose their tax exempt status, considering that staying out of politics is a condition of that, if I remember correctly... That being said, the IRS is clearly in the wrong in all of this, regardless of how you feel about the people they were investigating a little too closely.

    May 17, 2013 at 12:19 am |
    • lol??

      You bought the LBJ line. When the churches had a falling out with him, he paid em back. He was known as being quite the bully, which fits the demobocracy socie world view.

      May 17, 2013 at 7:38 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    May 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      oh no, not you again ...

      May 16, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      May 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • Really?

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      That's why the data, has shown that atheists have happier and healthier lives than conservative Christians. Your post is built on a lie!

      May 17, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Really?

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      That's why the data, has shown that atheists have happier and healthier lives than conservative Christians! Your post is built on a lie!

      May 20, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  14. Ken Margo

    We shouldn't be surprised. All the Tea Party and the republicans do is talk about eliminating the IRS. Wouldn't you expect the IRS to get back at them any way they can? As long as the workers didn't alter any data, nothing will happen to them.

    May 16, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • lol??

      You really should have voting rights suspended as a condition of employment for ancillary PUblic Servants whose job doesn't involve voting, only regulatin', otherwise they'll always vote to gwow the Beast for more bennies and power for themselves.

      Too late now for the wisdomless.

      May 17, 2013 at 8:24 am |
  15. Caleb

    ' I do not believe the IRS audits of our two organizations last year is a coincidence," Franklin Graham wrote , if not anything else this would only further strengthen the resolve of Rev. Graham to press on and focus on what matters most! At the end of the day, what matters most for people with the DNA of Rev. Graham would be the causes that are dear to him, to continue preaching the gospel and doing good for suffering humanity. The need is great, the cause is critical, the passion towards greater good trumps anything else.

    May 16, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      And what cause is dearer to him than raking in loads of money; he's set for life thanks to his flock.

      May 16, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Peregrine

      Maybe it's the millions of dollars in untaxed income he takes in yearly?

      May 16, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @Caleb: you're being ironic, right?!

      May 16, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
  16. Karl Marx

    Whoever [at the IRS] did this ... THANK YOU !!

    May 16, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
  17. John 3:16

    John 3:16

    For God so 💚 the 🌎 that he 🎁 his one and only Son, that 👫 believes in him shall not perish but have ∞ life.

    May 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Hairy Eyeball2u

      Your lack of english skills is showing. What country are you posting from?

      May 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      “It's going to be all right, sir," Harry said over and over again, more worried by Dumbledore's silence than he had been by his weakened voice. "We're nearly there ... I can apparate us both back ... don't worry ..."
      "I am not worried, Harry," said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. "I am with you.”
      – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

      May 16, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • Reality

      John 3:16 is a single attestation in the NT and many contemporary NT scholars to include (Professors Crossan, Ludemann, Borg and Fredriksen) have concluded that it was not said by the historical Jesus. It was, they conclude, an addition to embellish the life of Jesus to gain converts/money to/for the cause.

      See added commentary at http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php/350_Jesus_to_Nicodemus and in Professor Crossan's book, The Historical Jesus.

      Your god is also guilty of filicide. Please peruse the following before another outburst.

      (from Professor Crossan's book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

      "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

      "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

      "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."

      May 17, 2013 at 6:34 am |
    • nclaw441

      Reality, let's say you are right in what you say. IF God was being unreasonable, was guilty of some sort of murder, etc., if He is God, and you believed it, would you not still do what He said to do, or would you be willing to stand up to such a God and tell Him you'd rather suffer the full extent of His wrath rather than simply believe that you are forgiven by the sacrifice you condemn?

      If I truly believed that the one true God demanded that I do unspeakable acts, I would at a minimum strongly consider doing them in order to save my soul. Fortunately, I do not believe that, and the God I believe in essentially gave His Son, who himself could have refused to sacrifice Himself, but did not, because of His love for us. I confess that I do not fully understand or appreciate the greatness of God and cannot explain to your satisfaction God's rationale.

      I also recognize that what I believe I believe by faith, and cannot prove. Is the Bible perfect? Might there be errors in it? I cannot know. If all of this could be proven then no faith would be required of course. If no faith is required to believe then there is not much value in believing in God– how could you not?

      I believe God made us for His purposes, and not that we made God for ours.

      May 17, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Reality

      Why many believe:

      “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

      The Situation Today
      Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

      It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

      May 17, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
  18. Dyslexic doG

    Harry Truman called Billy Graham a "counterfeit" and publicity seeker.

    May 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Obama=Nixon

      Harry Truman is the greatest terrorist in human history.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      oh my!

      May 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Obama=Nixon

      Think about it. Osama's got nothing on Harry. Let's also not forget Harry's buddy Eisenhower, probably our worst ever president.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
  19. Dyslexic doG

    Franklin Graham is a media who.re! What a disgrace to his father's legacy.

    May 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • nclaw441

      His father is still alive. There is no legacy, yet.

      May 17, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  20. Obama=Nixon

    Obama and his cronies are being discovered for what they are: Nixon administration 2.0.

    May 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Well then shouldn't you be thrilled? Sounds like he's a conservative's dream come true.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Obama=Nixon

      If that's your defense of Der Fuhrer, it's a pretty poor defense.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I don't think that was a defense of Obama as much as a commentary on your petty nature.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Actually I was referring to the fact that Nixon was a Republican, a member of your grand old party. Obama can defend himself. He doesn't need my help.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      you've been watching far too much FOX News.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Obama=Nixon

      Please highlight where I said I was a Republican.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Obama=Nixon

      Cpt. Obvious

      I don't think it's petty to be worrying that the Obama administration wants to suppress opposition.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      As if you needed to "say" you were a Republican. Give me a break. We can read. You didn't need to spell it out.

      Oh, I know! You're an "independent". Okay... fine. A right-wing, conservative "independent". Does that make you feel better.

      May 16, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      And I'll go ahead and "highlight" where it is that you said you were a right-wing, conservative.

      You referred to Obama as "Der Fuhrer". I guaran-damn-tee you there are no Democrats that compare Obama to Hitler. Only Fox News conservatives talk that way.

      May 16, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Obama=Nixon

      I suppose in your world, everything is neatly divided between Democrat and Republican. If only the real world were so simple. I am an Independent, but not a particularly right-wing one. I suppose the closest thing to an ideology or party I am is Libertarian. I used to like the Reform Party before the Christians took over.

      PS
      I don't watch Fox.

      May 16, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Okay, you're a moderate who thinks Obama is Hitler. Did you vote for Der Fuhrer then?

      May 16, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Obama=Nixon

      I spoiled my vote, as I always do in every election. By the way, I wouldn't call myself a moderate either. Classical Liberal would probably be the best description of my beliefs, but I don't like pigeon-holing.

      Also, I don't think Obama is Hitler, I'm drawing a comparison between Fascist suppression of opposition and the Obama administration.

      May 16, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Why don't the repubs try to impeach him them? We all know the republican bit'chin is noting but a sham.

      May 16, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @Obama=Nixon ... I don't even know you but I do know that you saying you "don't watch FOX News" is as big a lie as the daily stories that come from that poisonous media muck hole. I know that you watch FOX News daily. Say what you like.

      May 16, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • Obama=Nixon

      You are a pr!ck, Dyslexic doG.

      May 17, 2013 at 11:43 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.