Luke 21:12 “But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.
In the midst of the discoveries that the IRS had been targeting conservative groups for auditing comes word that Christian organizations were also targeted by auditors.
One of those groups was the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The BGEA had never been subjected to an IRS audit at any time in its history.
Franklin Graham, president of the BGEA, released a statement that in addition to the BGEA, the internationally respected charity Samaritan’s Purse was notified on the same day that they would be subjected to an IRS audit for the first time.
“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 to President Obama. “I do not believe that the IRS audit of our two organizations last year is a coincidence – or justifiable.”
The BGEA scrutiny came after releasing an ad supporting North Carolina’s Marriage amendment. In the ad, Billy Graham wrote a letter encouraging people to “vote for Biblical values” and “pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.” The letter also encouraged readers to vote “for candidates who base their decisions on Biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.”
The ad did not mention any candidate by name nor did it advocate support for any political party.
In addition to the BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse, the news journal of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention was also contacted by the IRS for an audit – the first audit since the publication was founded in 1833.
The Biblical Recorder newspaper had published the letter from Pastor Graham along with other BGEA advertisements.
“There seems to be a very anti-Christian bias that has flowed into a lot of government agencies,” Biblical Recorder Editor Allan Blume told Fox News’ Todd Starnes. “Oppression literally against Christian organizations and groups. It makes you wonder what is going on.”
All ministries involved said that the audits required money meant for charitable work and ministry operations had to be diverted to pay for the IRS actions.
“While these audits not only wasted taxpayer money,” Franklin Graham wrote in his letter, “they wasted money contributed by donors for ministry purposes, as we had to spend precious resources servicing the IRS agents in our offices.”
The IRS did not return calls for comment by Fox News and they have not released any official public statement regarding the audits aimed at Christian organizations.