So essentially the atheists are saying, "We don't feel good about
taking this tax exception so no one else should."
The IRS code is consistent on this issue, because a "housing exemption"
is available for both ministers and our military. I support the exemption for
both.However, I have no problem with Atheist altruistic groups
applying for IRS acceptance as ministers. True faith has never been a
prerequisite for that designation.
"A review of case law establishes that the words 'church,'
'religious organization,' and 'minister,' do not necessarily
require a theistic or deity-centered meaning" in order to qualify for IRS
designation as a tax-exempt religious organization."This is
interesting. If it's an accurate interpretation, the law makes these words
meaningless. Which kind of proves the point, doesn't it? Why should one
type of non-profit be exempt from certain laws and reporting requirements if it
is indeed no different than the others?
Karen R is right. If the scam is this easy to maintain, the church of beyonce
won't be the last of it's kind. But if we give this to one outfit, we
have to give it to all.
All non-profits should be subject to the same laws and reporting requirements;
it is common sense and only a matter of time...
Just another attack on Religion in an attempt to overturn time honored rules
that favor traditional American values and our religious heritage and the sound
reasoning they are based on. Thank goodness good judgment prevailed and this
anti-religious atheist group failed to achieve any standing in the eyes of the
court. It is the in-thing now for all these various groups to challenge time
honored principles and practices based on religious faith that have served us so
well in this country. What a sad and dangerous time we live in. We may yet see
anarchy occur in this country if good judgment and heritage fall by the way
@Karen R.There are churches who don't profess or require
members to profess a belief in deity. Unitarian Universalism, for example. While
their historical roots lie in Christianity, today they welcome atheists, deists,
agnostics, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, you name it. They are a tax-exempt
organization, and rightfully so.It's worth noting that American
Atheists are also tax-exempt. And again, rightfully so.I'm not
familiar with all the legal intricacies involved in deciding who get tax-exempt
status and who doesn't. I would say that, in general (I'm sure there
could be exceptions) tax-exempt status should go to organizations whose primary
purpose is not to make a profit and whose existence is mission driven, i.e.
organizations that seek to promote a worldview or understanding that they see as
conducive to the greater good. Given the pluralistic nature of our society,
it's a given that various tax-exempt organizations will espouse views that
oppose or contradict those of other tax-exempt groups. And that's OK.
someone not worth naming said "So essentially the atheists are saying,
'We don't feel good about taking this tax exception so no one else
should.'"I'm going to go way out on a limb and assume
this person is religious. A daring guess, I know. Now, I wonder if this person
would feel good about having to assert--legally--that they deny the existence of
a deity in order to obtain a tax benefit. Would they do it? Or would they feel
excluded?Oh wait, I know, this isn't about a deity after all.
My goodness, I need a whole new dictionary.
Not believing in God requires faith, especially if one understands the
statistical probability of random mutations creating life as we know it. And
that's just the biological part, never mind the much larger mystery of self
consciousness. I've always held that atheism is a religion, and it looks
like the judgment in this case might agree.
@ ArizonaMormonFrom the American Atheist website: "In order to qualify for nonprofit tax-exempt status, any religious or
secular organization must demonstrate it exists to benefit the public. After
that basic element is established, religious non-profits are almost always
declared automatically tax-exempt under the current IRC rules and definitions.
However, secular non-profits face a lengthy application and a fee, which can be
as high as $850. "...The lawsuit also covers discrepancies in
how secular and religious organizations are treated in maintaining their
tax-exempt statuses. Secular nonprofits complete Form 990 annually, which
details information about finances, donors, volunteers, and personnel; the IRS
estimates it requires 211 hours to complete the Form 990, which is then public
information. Religious nonprofits are exempted from filing the Form 990, so
there is no public record about their finances, donors, volunteers, or
personnel."Sound fair to you?@ MeckofahessThis is a challenge to religious privilege. As I've mentioned to you
before, equality is a tradition in this country too.
Part of the problem, I think, is that religious organizations get special
treatment. Start a tax exempt organization to feed orphans and all
your financials have to be available for public review. Start a church and you
can keep most all of that secret. Why?
When a church starts operating 'for profit' endeavors, it is time for
that tax exempt status to be rescinded. That is unless they can show that the
entire funds go to doing what Jesus would have them do...take care of the sick
and poor. The only way to do this fairly is to have complete transparency so as
to see what comes in and what goes out. It is the only fair and honorable thing
to do. Now I'm sure some churches and non-profs will scream and holler,
but when they do you have to ask yourself...what do they fear? As for the
atheists, they need to get over the religion envy and concentrate on making sure
their house is straight and they are concentrating their efforts on helping
I think the for profit businesses operated by churches pay required taxes. Even
thrift stores I think pay sales taxes too. Money producing units pay taxes.
Can get tax break for donations though.
sukiyhtaky and others of a like mind,If a church's earnings
from for-profit ventures are saved up so that it can continue to provide aid to
the suffering during a disaster or other proverbial "rainy day", would
you still support their keeping tax-exempt status, even though it is not
immediately transparent that they are using the money to help others?
The article is a little outdated!The FFRF case has been appealed and
the Justice Department has filed its appeal brief with hundreds of religious
organizations joining as amici to try and defeat Judge Crabb's ruling.The FFRF brief is due later this week and FFRF amici should follow
shortly thereafter.I think Judge Bertlesman was very careful not to
say anything to jeopardize Judge Crabb's ruling on the merits of IRC 107.
He was able to deny American Atheists relief because they chose a poor
litigating strategy and could not, as the case was framed, obtain
"standing".May the 7th Circuit rule quickly to sustain Judge
Crabb's ruling and then it's on to the U.S. Supreme Court. Every
candidate this year should be compelled to speak to their vision as to the
future of IRC 107 that allows income tax free income ONLY to "ministers"
(i.e., million dollar preachers and basketball ministers). Congress
and the President, if they would do their job, could simply repeal IRC 107.
Karen R."This is interesting. If it's an accurate
interpretation, the law makes these words meaningless. Why should one type
of non-profit be exempt from certain laws and reporting requirements if it is
indeed no different than the others?"So you aren't sure if
it is an accurate interpretation but you are going to extrapolate on it
anyways.Ooook...I guess that is one way to do it.
PopsMight not want to talk odds when speaking about the creation of
life. There are 300 billion stars in our galaxy alone.
@sukiyhtaky - Taking care of the sick and the poor wasn't the only thing
Jesus Christ did. He also paid for Adam's transgression and suffered for
all the sins of the whole world, providing salvation to everyone who accepts His
gospel. The duty of His church is to invite all who have lived, are living, or
ever will live to come unto Christ by having faith, repenting, being baptized,
receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.The
Lord's church is much more than a soup line for the destitute, although
that is consistent with His message of mercy, too.
It will make a great test to see if churches disappear and which ones will stay
healthy if the exemption were to be removed. Remember, a tithing is God's
money and not the IRS's so a believer should continue to pay even though
they receive no exemption. I can't wait to see it happen because this will
get rid of many of these money making churches whose sole purpose is to make
money on the backs of its members and a false claim to God' grace.
"The atheist groups say it would violate their conscience to apply for
religious exemptions..."Saving a few thousand dollars by
frauding themselves would violate their conscience, but impeding billions of
dollars of charity and aid by frauding the nation wouldn't? Hmm...