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 contends. But government lawyers say atheist leaders can still be ministers, because atheism can function as a religion. So leaders of an atheist organization may qualify for the exemption after all.So the IRS is trying to make the case that atheism is a religion, something akin to claiming lawn maintenance is a religion. There are interesting arguments on both sides but the government is trying to wiggle around using the word "supernatural" by claiming that belief in a deity is not necessary to being a religion, such as Taoism and Buddhism, and that atheists have revered symbols such as the Darwin fish and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Look people, these are not revered symbols...They're jokes! And, they certainly don't reference supernatural things, exactly the opposite. By that argument the president of the East Tennessee Small Mouth Bass Club is a minister and worthy of having the tax deduction.
The foundation is also suing the government over several nonprofit laws that govern churches. They want the government to enforce rules that ban pastors from giving political endorsements and to require churches to file the same 990 tax returns as other charities.Look, a philosophy does not have to be a religion. More to the point, a discipline is NOT a religion if it does not involve an acceptance of the supernatural. It seems like the IRS is trying to make the case that there is no difference between a religion and a martial art, like say Southern Baptists and Professional Wrestling. Oh, wait... Tennessean article