chapter  3
15 Pages


ByDouglas E. Cowan

In 2010 a three-judge panel for the US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that ‘electronic ministries’, organizations that conduct their activities primarily via radio, television and the Internet, do not meet the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) criteria for tax exemption. Because they cannot pass what the panel calls the ‘associational test’, the requirement that members of a religious organization meet regularly in order to qualify as a ‘church’, they will henceforth be denied the IRS’s coveted tax exemption status, usually known by its code, 501(c)3 (Qualters 2010). In the case of radio and television ministries, for example, the judges ruled that a particular program’s audience does not constitute a community in a way that satisfi es the law.