Feds say OK to atheists on religion tax break


"We are not a church," atheists say. Government lawyers disagree, saying atheist leaders can be considered ministers.

The federal government wants to give Annie Laurie Gaylor a tax break for leading an atheist group.

Gaylor, head of the Madison, Wisc.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, wants to stop them — and she's asking a federal judge for help.

The standoff is the latest twist in a court battle over the parsonage exemption for clergy, a tax break that allows "ministers of the gospel" to claim part of their salary as a tax-free housing allowance.

Gaylor's organization says the exemption gives religious groups an unfair advantage. That makes it unconstitutional, the foundation's lawsuit claims.

But government lawyers say that atheist leaders can be ministers, too, since atheism can function as a religion. So leaders of an atheist organization may qualify for the exemption.

Written By: Bob Smietana
continue to source article at usatoday.com


  1. ” But government lawyers say that atheist leaders can be ministers, too, since atheism can function as a religion. “


    Making my enemy my friend? Instead of divide and conquer, unite all under religion and win that way.

  2. A classic case of: The Government knows what’s good for you.

    There is a distinct problem with governments around the World taking on the position that they are not required to simply set policy (setting general principles by which a government is guided) to actively managing projects in the pursuit of outcomes that directly deliver political objectives. Telling citizens what they are, and are not, and what they must do, and must not, is a natural consequence of this.

    Who said the Commies didn’t win.


  3. if you promise not to take the trough away we’ll let you stick your snouts in it too

  4. I wonder if Aunicornists will also get the same tax break. Can someone try and find out, as a lark.

  5. The problem here is that it seems strange that they don’t want to be called religious like leaders but in the military they want to have secular chaplains maybe that’s where the gov’t lawyers are getting that they are like religious leaders.

  6. But then why should an atheist group get a tax break where a group of people into moose preservation not? I think the breaks should be discontinued for everyone

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