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NRB General Counsel Speaks Out on Government Decisions

‘The mood of some leaders appears to be an unhappy willingness to throw stones at them rather than to help them lay bricks’

National Religious Broadcasters General Counsel Craig L. Parshall had a few things to say about the U.S. government in his latest newsletter.

Parshall, who is also the organization’s senior vice president, used this week’s iteration of NRB Today to call out decisions that negatively affect the funding and operation of religious organizations. Titled “The Uncharitable Impulse”, it examined recent actions by President Obama, the Supreme Court and Iowan Sen. Charles Grassley, and turned up what Parshall sees as hidden or unintended negative consequences.

President Obama made his list for a budget proposal to limit donations being written off of the federal tax returns of high-earning individuals. Parshall points to data from the Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy showing this new law would amount to a 4.8% drop in giving, roughly $3.87 billion. He cites other figures from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) that paint a dismal picture of the future of charitable giving.

The Supreme Court was called out for its decision to strike down litigation against a new Arizona law meant to stimulate contributions to private schools, which includes Christian institutions. The proposed tax law is geared at helping the state’s funding of public schools, but Parshall refers to ECFA data that claims the program will diminish funding for Christian groups involved in “alcohol and rehabilitation facilities, counseling, primary and secondary education and medical services.” Parshall said a recent Washington Post article claimed the government should give citizens incentives to donate to Christian charities, who are better at handling the aforementioned programs, thereby reducing the Fed’s footprint.

Lastly, Sen. Grassley made waves for suggesting that religious non-profits ought to be sidled with a host of new restrictions. This suggestion began years ago with an investigation by the senator into several Christian TV ministries, with a separate-but-related formal backing from the IRS urging new “governance” standards for non-profits. Parshall also pointed to “The Protection of Charitable Assets Act,” being pitched to state legislatures, which would reportedly empower each state’s attorney general to conduct “harassing investigations of Christian groups” whenever it is deemed necessary.

Parshall’s closing remark wrapped up his sentiments succinctly: “The mood of some leaders appears to be an unhappy willingness to throw stones at them rather than to help them lay bricks.”

Parshall writes regularly about issues pertaining to Christian broadcasters.