Trump thinks Scientology should have tax-exempt status revoked
Scientology is a great religion. It helps people, and makes their lives better. There is nothing negative to say about it. It is the best. If you are a Scientologist, you can stop reading this article right now, because it's just going to be a bunch of praise.
Okay, are all the Scientologists done reading now? Good.
Scientology is a creepy cult masquerading as a religion. They abuse their members, and rip them off for ridiculous amounts of money. They viciously attack their critics, suing them, and harassing them until their lives become a living hell. Perhaps worst of all, when someone tries to leave Scientology, they're labelled "suppressive," and the members are banned from interacting with them, which has brutally torn families apart. Also, it made Tom Cruise look a lot less cool.
Many people have spoken out against Scientology, and one of the biggest critics is King of Queens actress Leah Remini.
She left the church in 2013, and on her Emmy award winning docu-series, "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath," she interviews former members about their abuse and mistreatment. The show's a hit, and has gotten a powerful fan: Lynne Patton, a longtime aide to President Donald Trump.
Patton contacted Remini via direct message on Twitter, saying she brought up Scientology's tax-exempt status to the President:
"From the moment I saw your series, I told President Trump & his family we needed to revoke their tax exempt status. They couldn't agree more, but please don't publicize that yet. I want to do more due diligence on what the IRS has attempted in the past (or maybe you can enlighten me), then I'll identify who we need to connect with again. This is going to get done in the next 4 years or I'll die trying. Knock on wood!"
Scientology's tax-exempt status has been controversial. You might have learned about it on HBO's documentary Going Clear. If not, here's a summary:
Scientology obtained tax-exempt status in 1957. Ten years later, the IRS revoked it, saying its activities were "commercial in nature." The Church launched a 26 year harassment campaign, threatening, attacking and suing individual IRS employees. In 1993, the IRS caved, giving them tax-exempt status once again. This let Church hide under the cloak of "religious freedom," and get funding to attack their critics. The leader of Church, David Miscavige, was very happy. Here he is showing how big his boner got:
Even the biggest Trump hater has to love the idea of him revoking Scientology's tax-exempt status. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. Larry Noble, who worked as general counsel for the Federal Election Commission, says it doesn't work like that:
“For the White House or any administration official to try and influence who the IRS targets, for whatever reason, is wrong and could result in a violation of the law. The IRS must make these decisions independently without any influence by the White House or administration officials.”
On the IRS' website, they concur, explaining it's not a decision the President can make:
"The IRS may begin a church tax inquiry only if an appropriate high-level Treasury official reasonably believes, on the basis of facts and circumstances recorded in writing, that an organization claiming to be a church or convention or association of churches may not qualify for exemption.”
Well, that's a bummer! And we were all so close to becoming Donald Trump fans! Hopefully the IRS gives the "Church" another look in the future.
If you'd like to read more about Scientology, check out this article about their secret interrogation center, this article about how they infiltrated the IRS, and this article where Leah Remini explains how they tried to recruit Kevin James.
And if you're a Scientologist who's upset about anything in this article, it was written by Kevin Spacey.