Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

4 Bumps

Federal government trying to declare atheism a religion to give more tax breaks

This is a mess - there's a lawsuit filed against the tax exemptions specific to clergy, because they are unfairly applied and result in non-clergy paying more to make up the difference.  The federal government's defense against the law suit states both that the clergy exemption was put in place to "fight godlessness" (um, hello, constitution?) and also states that atheist leaders should be given the exemption as well, since atheism can be a religion (citing non-theistic faiths like Buddhism), so they should take the exemption, sit down and shut up about it.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/20/atheist-religion-tax-breaks/2678367/

 

Someone please explain to me how you fight godlessness by giving a tax break to the FFRF against their will, to aid them in promoting godlessness?  (and more to the point, why are they working so hard to sidestep the real issue being brought up by the FRFF, that the tax break is unfair when other self-employed people are not eligible for it)

Answer Question
 
NotPanicking

Asked by NotPanicking at 10:22 AM on Aug. 21, 2013 in Religious Debate

Level 50 (417,600 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • This....makes no sense to me at all. FTFA:


    "In a brief, the Justice Department argued leaders of an atheist group may qualify for an exemption. Buddhism or Taosim don't include a belief in God and are considered religions, the government's lawyers argued, so why not atheism?"


    It is embarrassing that federal lawyers actually said this, in any setting.  It is so clearly ignorant that it is cringe worthy


    "The Internal Revenue Service does require, among other things, that a "minister" be seen as a spiritual leader and provide services for a religious organization."


    Atheism isn't spiritual.  Spirituality is defined, at its most basic, as pertaining to the spirit or soul.  Atheism doesn't recognize a human soul so there is no way that the head of an atheist organization can be a spiritual leader of anything.

    Mrs_Prissy

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 10:42 AM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • (con't)

    I can't really figure out why the government is taking this approach. The "godlessness" claim is unconstitutional and I would think this would jeopardize their case from the outset.

    In other words, based on the information in the article this is a case the government has no chance of winning. I have no legal experience and even I can see that. So, why file a response that seems to have absolutely no legal foundation?
    Mrs_Prissy

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 10:48 AM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • So, why file a response that seems to have absolutely no legal foundation?

    My guess would be midterm elections - if clergy lose tax breaks, the political religion machine is going to go on the warpath. Obama is a lame duck, they they'll probably want to drag this out until after nov 2014
    NotPanicking

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 10:52 AM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • I don't know how I feel about this. I recognize that Atheism is merely "without God," and therefore Atheists can be spiritual. I also understand humanism, etc. And I believe strongly that the rights of Atheists should be equally protected. So "churches" or groups that are Atheistic in nature : humanist, etc, I would support getting the same privileges as any church or religious group.

    However, I, too, don't like religions getting tax breaks...
    bandgeek521

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 10:57 AM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • What I find amusing, or would if it wasn't the federal government spending money to do it, is that they are insisting the FFRF is a religious group, and insisting its leader should get a tax break, as if that's what the lawsuit is really about - tax breaks for atheists. Even if atheism was a religion, a civil rights organization wouldn't be a religious group, any more than the director of a YMCA program should get a clergy exemption.
    NotPanicking

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 11:03 AM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • "Even if atheism was a religion, a civil rights organization wouldn't be a religious group, any more than the director of a YMCA program should get a clergy exemption."

    Ah, yeah, no. Gotchya
    bandgeek521

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 11:35 AM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • Spirituality is defined, at its most basic, as pertaining to the spirit or soul. Atheism doesn't recognize a human soul so there is no way that the head of an atheist organization can be a spiritual leader of anything.
    ************************************************************************************
    Wrong.
    sahmamax2

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 1:45 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • But I don't think religions should get to avoid taxes in the first place, so...
    *******************
    ITA.
    sahmamax2

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 1:52 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • "Spirituality is defined, at its most basic, as pertaining to the spirit or soul. Atheism doesn't recognize a human soul so there is no way that the head of an atheist organization can be a spiritual leader of anything."

    Okay, I apologize lol. I misunderstand then.
    Mrs_Prissy

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 2:39 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • No worries:). In case you want to know-atheism is simply lack of belief in any sort of deity.
    The rest is very individual as far as beliefs about our soul/spirit and energy around us. I for one, consider myself a spiritual atheist:)
    sahmamax2

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 2:48 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

Join CafeMom now to contribute your answer and become part of our community. It's free and takes just a minute.