Have a Job Perk? Pay Taxes! Unless You’re in Religion

Posted: December 16, 2013 in politics, religion, taxes
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I saw this story on the Friendly Atheist blog and I knew that a World Net Daily notice on it could not be far off. WND did not disappoint, and on November 29, they came out with, “Ministers’ Tax Exemption Under Fire.” Let’s contrast that with the Friendly Atheist’s headline of, “Major FFRF [Freedom from Religion Foundation] Legal Victory Eliminates Tax-Free Housing for Pastors.”

I highly recommend reading the Friendly Atheist article on the subject for background. If you can’t be bothered, I’ll try to be brief: The IRS allows ministers (in what is known as the “parish exemption”) to deduct the cost of rent for their church-owned houses from their taxable income. In other words, they get free rent. The DOJ (Department of Justice) tried to argue that FFRF’s own co-presidents “were eligible for the tax breaks… because atheism, they said, was a religion.”

The ruling by Judge Barbara A. Crabb is quite surprising given today’s political climate in the United States. She even laughed off the DOJ’s argument about FFRF being a ministry: “Although defendants devote a substantial amount of their briefs to this argument, it is difficult to take it seriously. Under no remotely plausible interpretation of § 107 could plaintiffs Gaylor and Barker qualify as “ministers of the gospel.””

The WND article is another 3-paragraph excerpt of a real news source, in this case the Baptist Press. I was actually surprised that this didn’t get more vitriol. In the past 17 days, it has received ZERO votes and only 14 comments. And none of them are particularly humorous or worth quoting. But, since this post is short, perhaps the highest-rated one, by “Tosheba,” with 9 up and 1 down vote: “Liberal DemocRATS only recognize The United States Constitution when it serves their grotesque political agenda. In all other cases, they ignore, eviscerate, and violate.”

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