The Internal Revenue Service is now investigating houses of worship, claiming in a recent letter to the Justice Department that 99 churches merit a "high priority examination" for so-called "illegal electioneering."
Religious freedom advocates say the IRS launched the probe after a "secret deal" to placate atheists.
In an article on National Review Online, columnist Quin Hillyer notes that the IRS sent that letter in reference to a lawsuit filed against the tax agency by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The 2012 lawsuit called on the agency to enforce prohibitions against churches that endorse candidates from the pulpit.
The foundation has since dropped its suit after receiving private assurances from the IRS that the agency would actively monitor churches.
"Lovers of liberty should be very concerned," Hillyer warned.
"If government dares to forbid preachers from mere religious instruction - while the preachers still leave it up to their flocks to apply that instruction according to their understanding and their consciences - then there is nothing to stop government from infringing on other pulpit pronouncements with ever-more intrusive regulatory strictures," he wrote.
Is the IRS placating the atheist group? Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice offered his insight on that question and more. Click play for his comments.