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(RNS) Current tax law requires all tax-exempt organizations, including American Atheists, to file a Form 990 financial report -- except churches and church-related organizations.

34 Comments

    • Church-State separation is what we already have. What this is proposing is to bring the church under the authority of the state. This suit assumes that the state has some sort of constitutional authority to tax churches.

      Real Church-State separation says that the state has no more authority to tax a church than a church has authority over the state to collect tithes from it.

      • This suit says nothing that would infer constitutional authority over churches by the state. By accepting that legal status from the State that creates a tax advantage and requires the rest of the public to subsidize their activities through foregone taxes, these institutions are accepting the oversight that comes with it, and there is no legitimate argument for that being any less than secular institutions that have not for profit status under the tax code, including disclosure of salaries, donors, and verification of charitable activities. So if you are concerned about interference by the state, there is nothing requiring a religious institution to file for tax exempt status and they would therefore have no requirement to file a Form 990. It is a choice the institutions are making of their own free will.

    • Bob, First, thanks for calling all atheists cute. I’m actually an anti-theist, but I’m very used to believers being wrong. The comment leads one to suppose you’re attracted to box sexes though. Although I’m into one woman, don’t worry, that’s alright with me as well, I don’t have a rule book of hate that guides my beliefs. As far as not having enough integrity and courage, you mean like people who make childish comments but don’t have enough integrity and courage to use their real full name? Or maybe it is the bi-sexual attraction you’ve got going on that is holding you back from being open and honest? I urge you, don’t hide from yourself and others, be strong and stand up for what you really are. And we both know what that is.

      • He also called atheists ‘little’ which didn’t seem to bother you as much..?

        ‘…attracted to box sexes..’ – what does this mean? Guessing you meant to use the word ‘both’?

        Quite a leap of logic from being offended by a perceived or is it projected (sexist?) slight, to calling someone else a bi-sexual (is that meant to be a slur or a compliment?).

        Is it normal and acceptable for atheists to be prejudiced?

        I would expect someone who defines himself as an ‘anti-theist’ to be prejudiced. It’s kinda in the name really, isn’t it?

        Generally, when one says ‘First’ (sic) it is accepted that there will be a second point and that it will be referenced accordingly.

        Just trying to add some constructive criticism to assist you in expressing yourself more effectively.

        I must just note that anti-theists seem to get things wrong fairly regularly; even in one comment box?

        A just another minor note, if you would bear with me; Bob seemed to say that ‘the cute little atheists are mad’, although you appear to have inferred from his comment that ‘all atheists’ are cute?

    • Foolishness, like NOT believing in talking snakes, men living inside of whales and the world being about 6,000 years old, and the ones who DO believe in those things are the opposite of foolish I suppose.

    • If they were a religion, they’d get the same treatment. The whole point of this lawsuit is that they get inferior treatment only because they aren’t a religious organization. That’s a straightforward first amendment violation.

    • The atheists most certainly are NOT making a religion out of their beliefs. They don’t believe in supernatural elements. They don’t believe in magic.

      What atheists ARE building is community. That is something they have lacked – for centuries. Starting with the Catholic Inquisition non-believers have been demonized and ostracized. So, they have lacked a voice.

      Humans are social creatures. They have social needs that brings them together. Both religious & non-religious people have an inherent desire to be with others, to help others, to improve the world around them so that future generations may benefit from those who preceded them..

      Humanity is learning that they can build community and look after each other without using magic and fairy tales as the glue that binds them. Rather they are learning that they can be good without God.

  1. Tradition enshrines injustice – nothing is more socially respectable.
    “If your daddy stole, and his daddy stole, then you have inherited the “right” to steal.”

  2. I have probably inflamed a couple of old tiffs and opened myself up for some rebuke or other. Guessing it will be around spelling, grammar and being a retard or stupid person for having the audacity to tease an atheist. My own fault really. It is widely understood that atheists have little to laugh about.

    However, while making light I would like to voice my opinion on the special status that churches hold in the USA (and a few other places). A non-prophet organisation and a non-profit organisation should be dealt cards from the same deck. Not because they are both religions but because they satisfy the requirements (all the requirements) of a not for profit organisation. In my country, the reference is a section 21 company (or trust etc) and all comers MUST (apologies) lodge and run there organisation following the exact same laws.. Zero differentiation. This is the proper fiscal control requirement. Zero exceptions. I can not accept that churches should be allowed to muddy the water and then expect to be exempt from detailed scrutiny. If your affairs are inappropriately managed the n you should be forced to rectify within one tax period. End of story. Your salaries, your donors, your family links, the obscenely expensive ministry toys and houses all available from a link on the front page of your website. In my country the fellow directors or trustees may not be connected persons (from a tax not mafia perspective). How can true accountability be had when the trustees are mummy, brother, uncle and dad. It borders on being downright dodgy. Flame suit on.

    For clarity I am a Xian.

  1. […] Atheists challenge IRS over nonprofit financesReligion News Service “It seems to be straight-up discrimination on the basis of religion.” American Atheists is joined in the suit by Atheists of Northern Indiana and Atheist Archives of Kentucky. Oral arguments were heard Thursday (Nov. 21) in the U.S. District Court for …Atheists Take On The IRSNewsweek […]

  2. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment

    […] church. It looks like Atheist have challenged the IRS in Non believers getting a non profit status Atheists challenge IRS over nonprofit finances – Religion News Service. It seems like they are getting all their ducks in a row to being like a church. Do you think they […]

  3. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment

    […] Originally Posted by Michael J You are either misrepresenting the court's ruling or making that up or that was one incompetent group of judges. A "study group" is not a religion. I belong to an atheist club and we do not worship anything or go to any church. It's especially funny how that stupid article you posted quotes the American Family Association. Doesn't matter what you think, the court ruled Atheism is a religion. They are currently forming churches and seeking 501 C 3 non profit status. Your in trouble dude. Can't hide your religion under the table now. Atheists challenge IRS over nonprofit finances – Religion News Service […]

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