"Here I Blog" on the IRC 107 Challenge!
SBC Plodder Featured in Forbes on Clergy Housing Allowance
Forbes contributor Peter J. Reilly enlists the writings of retired Southern Baptist pastor and blogger William Thornton, a.k.a. SBC Plodder, in his article Southern Baptists Against Clergy Tax Abuse. Reilly begins:
> Southern Baptists Against Clergy Tax Abuse (SBACTA)-> Read the whole thing:
> is not a real organization. I just made it up.
> There is no question, though, that if it did exist
> who its spokesman would be. The Reverend William
> Thornton who blogs on Southern Baptist Convention
> issues under the title SBC Plodder is the man. I
> have been following his blog for sometime now. He
> has gotten me hooked on the conflict in the SBC
> between Calvinists and anti-Calvinists. I just love
> fights that I don't have a dog in. I started following
> him because of his writing on the parsonage exclusion,
> which should be back in the news, but somehow the rest
> of the media is missing it. The parsonage exclusion
> allows ministers to receive some of their compensation
> in the form of a housing allowance that is exempt from
> income tax. There is a lot of doubt about the
> constitutionality of the provision, but until last
> week's ruling in favor of the Freedom From Religion
> Foundation, nobody has ever been able to get standing
> to challenge the provision in federal court. (It is
> hard to get standing to challenge somebody else's tax
> I'm not going to get into the constitutional question
> in this piece other than to observe that much as I
> admire constitutional purists, I am not one myself.
> I also think that constitutional purists are actually
> rather rare. Activists and advocates tend to use the
> Constitution like a drunk uses a lamppost more for
> support than illumination.
> It appears to me that SBC is the denomination with
> the most at stake in this fight.
Brother Thronton is right to voice concern over the clergy housing allowance, but no one else seems to be talking about it.
Most of the 40,000+ Southern Baptist churches are not mega-churches; not even close. I understand that most Southern Baptist churches have 200 or less in attendance on Sunday mornings.
Reilly may be onto something with his tongue-in-cheek suggestion of "Southern Baptists Against Clergy Tax Abuse (SBACTA)."
In other words, maybe more Baptists should give some attention to the taxing matter of clergy housing allowances.
From: Robert Baty
Date/Time (EDT): September 4, 2012 at 9:24 am
I am a member of the Church of Christ and
Peter J. Reilly has featured some of my writings
on the issue for some time now.
I think I may have got him hooked on the issue
after he published his article on the horn-playin',
tax-cheatin' Phil Driscoll.
The Churches of Christ, though hardly competitive
size wise with the SBC, not only has a dog in this
fight it also has played an important part in the
historical development of the issue in that it was
George Bush and Omar Burleson who put the squeeze
on the IRS on behalf of Abilene Christian College,
during the Nixon years, and got up that administrative
rule that has allowed the "basketball minister", and
others, at places like Pepperdine to claim the income
tax free ministerial housing benefit.
And so the Churches of Christ have become more like
the "nations round about" and what some consider abuse
of the housing allowance has grown even more over the
last 40 years.