Obama, in his Cairo speech to the ummah (the Muslim world):
Mid-level appointees in the Obama administration and some members of Congress are secretly pushing for a 5 percent limit on tax exemptions for contributions to religious organizations as a way to hike tax revenues amid a bloated deficit as well as "get back" at some churches which are believed to have sponsored anti-gay and pro-life activities.
As members of Congress make their plans for a month-long recess and attention has been riveted on the health care debate, supporters of the measure are working behind the scenes.
"It’s all about Prop 8," said a staffer on the Ways and Means Committee, which writes tax legislation. "Barney said ‘I’ve had enough. Let those f****ers eat cake. The Mormons, the religious right, all of ‘em.’" The staffer, a legislative analyst, was referring to Barney Frank, an openly gay Democrat from Massachusetts who was described as "gone postal" after California voters banned same-sex marriage in November. Documents released by the California Secretary of State’s office show a decisive number of contributors to the ballot initiative from Utah, leading to accusations by gay rights advocates that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, known commonly as Mormons, were targeting them.
Because Mormons in good standing are expected to tithe, or donate 10 percent of their earnings to the church, the tax measure is seen as aimed squarely at the denomination, as well as other conservative Christian groups with motivated bases.
"Barney and some other guys on the Hill call it a ‘subsidy for hate.’ The ACLU, People for the American Way and AU (Americans United for the Separation of Church and State) are backing this all the way, but behind the scenes. Nobody wants to go public with this until they know how higher-ups view it. They are pushing it quietly and a bit nervously," the staffer said. "Shulman is not involved in this at all. It’s IRS people a couple steps down the food chain who are working with Barney and his allies." He was referring to Internal Revenue Commissioner Douglas Shulman, a Bush appointee to a five-year term.
An IRS source confirmed the vendetta, saying congressional pressure is being applied to move against the Mormons and other conservative Christian churches.
"Some powerful people on the Hill are pushing the IRS to investigate religious contributions to Prop 8. Hey, we won. Romney lost. It sucks to be you. That’s their attitude," said the official, a gay Obama appointee works in enforcement and fraud investigation. "They can fight back with First Amendment arguments, but in the end it doesn’t matter who wins. We can make their lives miserable for a long time and make them spend a lot of money on legal fees. That’s money they won’t have available to spend on new ‘hate’ initiatives."
Asked whether the Obama administration is afraid of political backlash, the IRS investigator said, "Do you think they expect to win Utah in 2012? Come on. The Mormons will be sticking it to us no matter how we deal with them. Now it’s our turn to stick it to them."