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4th Circuit: Charities, nonprofits free from govt harassment

School officials fired me because I expressed genuine concern—as a parent—about a book in my kids' school

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Greg Baylor, director of the ADF Center for Religious Schools, regarding the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit’s decision Wednesday in Buettner-Hartsoe v. Concordia Preparatory School, in which the court concluded that a charity or nonprofit’s 501(c)(3) status does not constitute receiving “federal financial assistance”:

“The 4th Circuit confirmed what has always been true: a nonprofit’s tax-exempt status is not government funding and thus does not trigger multiple burdensome federal laws under which charities and other nonprofits could lose their tax-exempt status. Across the country, charities and nonprofits provide invaluable services to their communities. Yet some courts—including the district court in this case—have wrongly held that the government is actively funding these groups simply by permitting them to keep the contributions donors give them. These court decisions unexpectedly subject nonprofits to a number of expensive legal obligations they never contemplated when they applied for and received their tax-exempt status. This ruling aligns with an important bill that was recently introduced in Congress, the Safeguarding Charity Act, which seeks to shield charities and nonprofits from unexpected and costly regulatory burdens.”

ADF attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case on behalf of the Association of Christian Schools International and other religious school organizations. In it, they argued that faith-based schools and associations “have a strong interest in stewarding their limited resources to advance their religious and educational purposes while avoiding costly, burdensome, and unnecessary government regulation.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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Gregory S. Baylor
Gregory S. Baylor
Senior Counsel, Director of the Center for Religious Schools
Gregory S. Baylor serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he is the director of the Center for Religious Schools and senior counsel with the Center for Public Policy.