When the news broke in May that the Internal Revenue Service had sabotaged certain conservative political groups, I was not surprised.
Last Sept. 6, the IRS notified the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as well as Samaritan’s Purse that our 2010 tax returns were being audited. Two separate evangelical Christian organizations getting audit letters the same day about the same tax year? That’s not a coincidence.
From the very beginning of the BGEA more than 60 years ago, my father has always insisted that our accounting be beyond reproach. The IRS never had audited us before, and I don’t think they seriously expected to find anything amiss. The audits went well, our returns were accepted, and shortly after the election, our status as a charitable organization was affirmed.
This was not so much about taxes, I’m convinced, as it was about Christian morals and biblical standards. A few months earlier, the BGEA purchased ads in North Carolina newspapers, where my father spoke out in favor of the state’s proposed Marriage Amendment. That offended some powerful people.
Of course, the IRS is not the only government agency that takes issue with Christians. The Pentagon has gone to absurd lengths to appease one vocal agnostic–even ordering an Air Force base in Idaho to remove a painting of a 9/11 hero because it included an innocuous reference to Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
Christian organizations are under relentless pressure to retreat from biblical standards. It’s high time for America to wake up, get down on our knees, and beg God for forgiveness, wisdom and moral backbone. At the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we are praying that God will bring revival to our nation. To prepare the way, we are organizing a nationwide evangelistic event this November called My Hope America with Billy Graham. We need your prayers and your witness as we seek to spread the Gospel in homes and neighborhoods throughout our land.
Otherwise, far too many Americans face the same judgment that Paul warned the Romans about: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20, ESV).
At Gettysburg 150 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln declared “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.”
Lincoln was talking about the end of slavery, but his words could also apply to the moral quagmire we face today. As Americans celebrate our independence, what we need most of all is true freedom from the enslavement of sin–salvation through the new birth made possible in Jesus Christ.