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RELIGION, CURRENT EVENTS, TECHNOLOGY Subscribe to the breaking newsWhat is RSS?
FRONT PAGE  |  7/31/2014
MONDAY, NOV 25, 2013  |  17 comments
Federal judge: Clergy tax-free housing allowance is unconstitutional

A federal judge has ruled that an Internal Revenue Service exemption that gives clergy tax-free housing allowances is unconstitutional. The exemption applies to an estimated 44,000 ministers, priests, rabbis, imams and others. If the ruling stands, some clergy members could experience an estimated 5 to 10 percent cut in take-home pay.

U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb ruled on Friday (Nov. 22) in favor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, saying the exemption violates the establishment clause because it “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.” ...


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COMMENTS | show all | add new  
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· Page 1 ·  Found: 17 user comment(s)
News Item11/27/13 12:32 AM
John Beechy  Find all comments by John Beechy
Is God ordaining pastors or elders today?
17

News Item11/26/13 7:55 PM
Neil | Tucson  Find all comments by Neil
Unprofitable Servant wrote:
I Timothy 5:17,18 "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."
I Corinthians 9:14 "Even so has the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel."
You didn't demonstrate what those texts have to do with clerical tax perks. They discuss the duty of the church towards teaching elders, *not* the duties of civil taxing authorities.

And it is not impossible to have a full-time secular job *and* preach effectively, especially when multiple elders share the burden of teaching. But whether preachers are full- or part-time, they should be compensated proportionately.

16

News Item11/26/13 6:59 PM
Unprofitable Servant | Georgia  Find all comments by Unprofitable Servant
Thanks penny, appreciate your comments.

I Timothy 5:17,18 "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."

I Corinthians 9:14 "Even so has the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel."

15

News Item11/26/13 9:06 AM
pennny  Find all comments by pennny
last thing we need is harried pastors that have to work 2-3 jobs at low wages to get by, and then expect a good sermon on sunday.

true teaching takes a lot of time, prayer, study of the Word.

besides their availability to lead and encourage others, instead its reading a commentary fast and regurgitating it with sleepy eyes.

seems that the church swings from one extreme to the other? first its mega churches and high and lofty pastors that are untouchable with the money pouring in, to the guy who spends years in study (ie not in a trade, degree that pays) to end up doing cheap work and somehow being superman in a depressed economy to take care of everyone and still deliver a coherent message.

is there something between these two extremes? -- something like, I don't know, an allowance for housing so that worry is taken off his back?

praying for our pastors today!

14

News Item11/26/13 8:22 AM
get real | earth  Find all comments by get real
the church won't be healed until you money grubbers with the soft hands get whats coming to you ...

not one repentant pastor on here saying they need an actual JOB to support themselves ...

...

13

News Item11/25/13 8:50 PM
Mike | New York  Find all comments by Mike
Frank wrote:
---
In 1954, Congress approved an amendment by Sen. Lyndon Johnson to prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity. To the extent Congress has revisited the ban over the years, it has in fact strengthened the ban. The most recent change came in 1987 when Congress amended the language to clarify that the prohibition also applies to statements opposing candidates.
Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one "which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."
It is not surprising it was Lyndon Johnson. Many 501c3 types would be opposed to his brand of politics. It is also not surprising that the restraint gradually increases with time, even to prohibiting speech, which isn't acceptable, but lawmakers can be lawbreakers as well.
12

News Item11/25/13 7:46 PM
Frank  Contact via emailFind all comments by Frank
U.S., I was only referring to the following. In my opinion, clergy or churches if you will, should get the same exemptions that I get or any other tax payer gets. All of the below is from the internet and I am assuming it is accurate. In our country, the restraint isn't all that great, but there is a restraint placed on them.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

In 1954, Congress approved an amendment by Sen. Lyndon Johnson to prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity. To the extent Congress has revisited the ban over the years, it has in fact strengthened the ban. The most recent change came in 1987 when Congress amended the language to clarify that the prohibition also applies to statements opposing candidates.

Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one "which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."

11

News Item11/25/13 7:39 PM
penned  Find all comments by penned
Unprofitable, I agree with you. thanks for pointing that out.

why do we have to drag each other down in these hard financial times? the idea of "fairness" in a socialist state is when you've got 5 kernals of corn to eat for the day when your neighbor gets 10, so you call the big arm and complain that he got more.

sooner or later, we'll want to get back to repairing our dismantled communities again -- and having healthy churches is an important part of that.

10

News Item11/25/13 6:38 PM
Unprofitable Servant | Georgia  Find all comments by Unprofitable Servant
I think there is a misunderstanding of tax exempt and tax subsidized. If some activity of mine is tax exempt then I am allowed to keep more of MY MONEY THAT I HAVE EARNED, I am not being subsidized by tax money that belongs to someone else. (BTW, there is no separation of church and state clause in the Constitution.) Being able to deduct my interest payment on my mortgage does not benefit all tax payers, it only benefits those who are paying off a house loan. There is no government dictate with my behavior that I have to compromise to take that deduction. It simply allows me keep more of the fruits of my own labors.

I would challenge those who say that there is a dependency clause here for the clergy to document that.

Now, don't jump down my throat here, I heartily acknowledge that all wealth comes from God.(I Chronicles 29:12) I am to be a good steward of that which He has given to me. Less to government is definitely good stewardship, IMHO.

To keep things clear, I am not clergy and do not therefore take the tax exemption mentioned in this article.

9

News Item11/25/13 3:17 PM
Frank  Contact via emailFind all comments by Frank
SteveR wrote:
I along with Rufus agree that 501c3 status made the Church too dependent upon the State. However, in the case I have mixed feelings as smaller churches & church plants without ownership of a parsonage will be the most impacted and still remain under the scrutiny of 501c3 status
SteveR, the below is from the internet.

Pragmatism is a philosophical approach that interprets truth based upon practical effects. According to pragmatism, truth is what is practical and useful. Thus, something is deemed “true” if it is practical and it works and “untrue” if it does not work. Pragmatists often view metaphysical speculations as irrelevant since they bring no practical benefits.

Pragmatism is one of the rare philosophical concepts that originated in the United States. This view is especially linked with C. S. Pierce (1839–1914), William James (1842–1910), and John Dewey (1859–1952).

8

News Item11/25/13 12:26 PM
SteveR  Find all comments by SteveR
1517 wrote:
John Yurich,
I believe Paul was a rent maker and did not cease that vocation while on his mission. Frank is correct, man, all of man, is inclined to sin and could be tempted to compromise for the sake of maintaining tax exemption. If we as Christians are concerned about our pastor, minister, or flock leader's material well being we should faithfully tithe and pray for the Lord's provision.
I along with Rufus agree that 501c3 status made the Church too dependent upon the State. However, in the case I have mixed feelings as smaller churches & church plants without ownership of a parsonage will be the most impacted and still remain under the scrutiny of 501c3 status
7

News Item11/25/13 12:23 PM
get real | earth  Find all comments by get real
Psalm 109 ...
verse 8 The Apostle Peter quoted this verse, before the apostles elected the replacement for Judas Iscariot in Acts 1:16-26.
6

News Item11/25/13 11:42 AM
1517  Find all comments by 1517
tent maker...not rent maker. sorry
5

News Item11/25/13 11:41 AM
1517  Find all comments by 1517
John Yurich,
I believe Paul was a rent maker and did not cease that vocation while on his mission. Frank is correct, man, all of man, is inclined to sin and could be tempted to compromise for the sake of maintaining tax exemption. If we as Christians are concerned about our pastor, minister, or flock leader's material well being we should faithfully tithe and pray for the Lord's provision.
4

News Item11/25/13 10:55 AM
John Yurich USA | USA  Find all comments by John Yurich USA
Frank wrote:
I personally think there should be no tax exemptions for clergy. Tax exemptions for the clergy make them in some sense responsible or dependent on the state and of course that affects things they can say. So, they can easily become hirelings instead of those who proclaim God's word; unashamed and unafraid.
Romans 13:7. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
Matthew 22:21. They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
If clergy don't receive tax exempt status they would have to have another job besides being an ordained clergymember.
3

News Item11/25/13 10:52 AM
get real | earth  Find all comments by get real
Thank You God for spanking the rich as they sit with their healthcare and full bellies (some so full that they are fat) and their families of children whom have had all the advantages, they know no persecution, no dearth, they feed not the flock, this is so long overdue, I wondered when God would spank all of you for sucking money and standing around when others needed and died because of it ... may you learn and become saved ...
2

News Item11/25/13 10:15 AM
Frank  Contact via emailFind all comments by Frank
I personally think there should be no tax exemptions for clergy. Tax exemptions for the clergy make them in some sense responsible or dependent on the state and of course that affects things they can say. So, they can easily become hirelings instead of those who proclaim God's word; unashamed and unafraid.

Romans 13:7. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Matthew 22:21. They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

1
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