Don’t Let Churches Off the Hook in Pandemic Relief

Dear Friend,

Every nonprofit organization in the United States, including the Center for Inquiry, is required to disclose their finances to the IRS…except churches. They’re exempt.

In April, we alerted you that churches can have federal COVID relief loans forgiven—even for direct spending on religious instruction and programming.

That means exactly what it sounds like: churches are getting free taxpayer money to preach and proselytize. 

CFI urged the Small Business Administration (SBA) to reverse this publicly-funded religious giveaway, but the agency went ahead with it anyway. New legislation has been introduced to mitigate the harm done by this unconstitutional policy.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Pramila Jayapal introduced the Coronavirus Oversight and Recovery Ethics (CORE) Act (S. 3855/H.R. 7076) to ensure ethical and accountable use, disbursement, and supervision of COVID-19 relief funds. Among its provisions, the bill requires the Small Business Administration to provide the public with weekly updates on the loan amounts awarded through the Paycheck Protection Program, and the identities of participating lenders and recipients including churches.

CFI will never let lawmakers or the IRS off the hook for protecting churches from basic financial transparency. We will keep up the fight to require that churches file a Form 990, just like all other nonprofits. In the meantime, the CORE Act is a critical step to reverse an egregious government subsidy of religion.

Your representatives need to hear from you. Will you take a moment today to ask them to cosponsor the CORE Act?


Jason Lemieux
Director of Government Affairs
Center for Inquiry

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