Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fed. Judge Says Atheists Right on New Clergy Tax

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in Wisconsin ruled in favor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation saying that clergy cannot be exempt from paying income taxes on charitable money used to pay for their housing.  If the Obama administration does not appeal the ruling, the federal government will gain billions of dollars in tax revenue via a fleecing of church leaders.

For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

President Obama's Military Shuns God & Persecutes Christians

President Obama Strips God from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

President Obama's Veterans Administration Strips Jesus & Bible from Chaplains

-- From "Judge strikes down clergy tax-free housing money" by The Associated Press 11/23/13

The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation filed the lawsuit against U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and acting IRS commissioner Daniel Werfel. Treasury Department spokeswoman Victoria Esser and IRS spokesman Grant Williams referred questions Saturday to the Department of Justice, which is representing Lew and Werfel. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Saturday.

Under the law, passed by Congress in 1954, ministers don’t pay income taxes on compensation that is designated part of a housing allowance. The Freedom From Religion Foundation says that a clergy member to use the untaxed income to purchase a home, and then, in a practice known as “double dipping,” deduct interest paid on the mortgage and property taxes.

In her ruling, Crabb referenced a 2002 statement by then-U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad of Minnesota that said the exemption would save clergy members $2.3 billion in taxes from 2002-2007. Crabb said the magnitude of the benefit only underscores what’s wrong with the law.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Court Strikes Clergy Tax-Free Housing Allowances; FRC Calls it 'Supreme Arrogance'" by Anugrah Kumar, Christian Post Contributor 11/24/13

In her ruling, the judge wrote that the exemption "provides a benefit to religious persons and no one else, even though doing so is not necessary to alleviate a special burden on religious exercise," as quoted by the Wisconsin State Journal.

"We have seen many courts over the years attempt to banish God in various ways from the public square, but this case in particular reveals a level of supreme arrogance," [Family Research Council President Tony] Perkins said in a statement. "Once again, Judge Crabb has neglected to consult the Constitution that she was sworn to uphold."

Society has long provided this tax housing allowance to clergy because of the tremendous benefit that churches in turn give to society, Perkins explained. "Clergy help carry the burden of many social ills that would otherwise become the burden of taxpayers and the federal government."

Perkins pointed out that the same judge had struck down the National Day of Prayer as unconstitutional.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Religious liberty & ministers' tax exemption" by Joe Carter, director of communications for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention 11/27/13

. . . Why exactly do ministers receive a tax exemption for their housing allowance?

Since at least the time when Joseph served in Pharaoh's Egypt, religious property has been exempt from certain forms of taxation (Genesis 47:26). The practice continued in the Roman Empire and through medieval Europe and was part of the common law, which America adopted from England. The common law granted tax exemptions to established churches and, through the equity law tradition, to all churches. From the 15th century to the 19th century, most pastors lived in the parsonage, a house provided by the church. Housing was thus a form of non-cash payment that was exempt from taxation since the parsonage was church property.

By the early 20th century, though, both clergy housing and taxation had changed considerably. So in 1921, Congress passed the Revenue Act, which exempted from the gross income of ministers the rental value of any "dwelling house and appurtenances thereof" provided by a church as part of clergy compensation. This parsonage exemption, however, applied only to ministers who lived on property owned by their church and disadvantaged ministers whose churches provided a housing allowance rather than a church-owned parsonage.

In 1954, Congress amended the tax code to allow ministers to exempt a portion of their income to the extent used by the minister for housing. According to the Senate Report at the time, the purpose of this addition was to eliminate the disparity in the tax code between ministers who lived in a church-owned parsonage and those who were given a stipend with which to secure housing.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read President Obama Redefines 1st Amendment Freedom of Religion even though Obama Denies Leading War Against Christianity