Atheist Group Sues Over Clergy Tax Exemptions

By:  Raven Clabough
09/20/2011
       
Atheist Group Sues Over Clergy Tax Exemptions

An atheist group has turned its attention to the federal tax code, but not because of its astronomical size and scope. Instead, the Freedom from Religion Foundation is concerned with what it alleges to be an unconstitutional exemption for Christian ministers.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation, which typically launches battles to ensure the oft-used maxim of “separation of church and state,” has joined three of its officers in filing a lawsuit against Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman.

A portion of the lawsuit reads:

Section 107 has the effect of fostering governmental entanglement with religion, precisely in order to limit the tax break provided by §107 to religious clergy; the IRS must make complex, intrusive and subjective inquiries into religious matters when applying §107 in order to limit its preferential scope to ministers of the gospel.

An atheist group has turned its attention to the federal tax code, but not because of its astronomical size and scope. Instead, the Freedom from Religion Foundation is concerned with what it alleges to be an unconstitutional exemption for Christian ministers.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation, which typically launches battles to ensure the oft-used maxim of “separation of church and state,” has joined three of its officers in filing a lawsuit against Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman (photo).

A portion of the lawsuit reads:

Section 107 has the effect of fostering governmental entanglement with religion, precisely in order to limit the tax break provided by §107 to religious clergy; the IRS must make complex, intrusive and subjective inquiries into religious matters when applying §107 in order to limit its preferential scope to ministers of the gospel.

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