An advocacy group based in Israel has filed a complaint against the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with the Internal Revenue Service, contending that the church’s tax-exempt status should be revoked.
ShuRat Hadin, the Israel Law Center, which is based in Tel Aviv and describes itself as a civil rights organization, filed the complaint in December 2014, alleging that the PC(USA) had breached its tax-exempt status as a religious organization by engaging in political advocacy. It cites a series of alleged violations, including the General Assembly’s decision in June 2014 to divest in three companies (Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions) which the assembly determined had been engaged in non-peaceful pursuits in the West Bank and Gaza.
The complaint also refers to a meeting a PC(USA) delegation held more than a decade ago with representatives of Hezbollah, as part of a visit to Lebanon to listen to local Christians, ecumenical partners and political leaders. Criticism followed that meeting, and two PC(USA) national staff members lost their jobs.
Asked for comment, a spokesperson for the PC(USA) said on Dec. 12: “We have not received a complaint from the IRS.”