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Group sues over line between church, state

The Freedom from Religion Foundation in Madison has filed suit against the IRS. The group said the federal tax enforcers violated the U.S. Constitution by letting tax-exempt religious groups and churches get involved in political campaigns.

The Madison plaintiffs specifically mentioned the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which ran full-page ads in newspapers across the country on the two Sundays before the elections. Those ads - which appeared in Wisconsin papers large and small - urged voters to consider religious values when going to the polls.

The lawsuit also mentioned that Illinois Bishop Daniel Jenky required a political letter to be read in churches the weekend before the presidential contest. By not enforcing the ban on electioneering by religious groups, the Madison foundation said the government gave preferential treatment not given to other non-profits groups, such as the foundation itself. The IRS has not commented.