Michele in Colorado e-mailed me with an excellent question on government intrusion into 501c3 organizations:
I am part of a homeschool group in Canon City, CO. We are trying to figure out what we are to do financially next year. We do not have a non -profit status and most people in our group do not want to organize that much. Some of the people in our group have had some experiences with 5013C status that the government has made them open their group up to individuals that they would not normally allow in their group because they are a government entity (like permitting someone not in our faith to teach a class).
Thank you so much for your help to the homeschool community and for whatever answers you can give us.
Good for you in wanting to make sure that you are doing things properly in your homeschool group.
Your people are mistaken. Receiving 501c3 tax exempt status does NOT make your organization a government entity; it simply means that you are exempt from paying income tax on your profit and donors can make tax-deductible contributions. It’s a tax status. 501c3 status does NOT mean you must open up your group. No way! We still have religious freedom in American and freedom to assemble. Someone is greatly misinformed. You are certainly free to choose your members and choose who teaches a class. Does a Catholic school have to allow non-Catholics teach their classes? Of course not!
The Boy Scouts won a very important Supreme Court case in 2000 allowing them to exclude homos*xual men from being Boy Scout leaders. Read about it here. Your group is free to exclude certain people from membership. It’s a basic American right called freedom of assembly.
God Bless America!
Carol Topp, CPA