Cuba: Churches Fight to Retain Tax-Exempt Status of Christian Humanitarian Group

Amanda Casanova | Religion Today Contributing Writer | Thursday, September 08, 2016

Cuba: Churches Fight to Retain Tax-Exempt Status of Christian Humanitarian Group


The U.S. is threatening to take away the tax exempt status from Pastors for Peace, a Christian humanitarian group that delivers aid to Cuba.

Pastors for Peace, which has been in operation since 1992, collects donations in the U.S. and then sends school buses, computers, medicine and other products to Cuba, but by traveling to Cuba, the organization has defied the U.S.’s restrictions against traveling to the country.

"We act not just in defiance of our government, but in obedience to our conscience," said Rev Lucius Walker, the founder of Pastors for Peace.

Then in August, the Internal Revenue Service discovered that the parent organization for Pastors for Peace, the Inter-religious Foundation for Community Organization, had never requested permission from the U.S. Treasury Department to send aid to Cuba.

The U.S. Treasury Department has been investigating the group since 2009, according to ChristianToday.com.

"I do not understand how at this moment, when the Obama Administration's policy is to seek understanding, that on the other hand they are taking these types of measures against institutions that have created an understanding between our peoples," Joel Ortega Dopico, President of the Cuban Council of Churches, said at a press conference in Havana.

Said Monolo de los Santo, of Pastors for Peace in Cuba: "It is not up to the IRS to decide what we can bring to Cuba and in what way.”

 

Publication date: September 8, 2016

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