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Atheism as a Religion in the eyes of the law; coming soon?

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  • rlbaty50
    Is the Obama Justice Department on the verge of proposing that atheism be accepted as if a religion in the eyes of the IRS, that atheist organizations be
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 29, 2013
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      Is the Obama Justice Department on the verge of proposing that atheism be accepted as if a religion in the eyes of the IRS, that atheist organizations be accepted as if churches and atheists as if ministers?

      It sounds like it from the brief filed yesterday!

      IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
      FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN

      FREEDOM FROM RELIGION
      FOUNDATION, INC.,
      ANNIE LAURIE GAYLOR, and
      DAN BARKER,

      Plaintiffs,

      v.

      UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

      Defendant.

      Case No. 11-cv-0626

      UNITED STATES' BRIEF
      IN SUPPORT OF ITS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

      (excerpts)

      Ms. Gaylor and Mr. Barker allege that they face discrimination because of the statutory text of § 107(2),4 its implementing regulations, and the manner in which the IRS enforces it.

      They neither sought nor were denied its benefits, in which case they would have had resort to a timely refund suit under § 7422.

      Plaintiffs have had no communication at all with the IRS about
      the federal income tax effect of their housing allowances.

      Ms. Gaylor and Mr. Barker have made no effort to claim their housing allowances are excludable from federal
      income tax.

      Rather, Mr. Barker's and Ms. Gaylor's purported injury is that there has been or will be some hypothetical and imminent "discrimination" on the basis of religious criteria in light of any attempt by them to claim an exclusion under § 107(2).

      In light of the undisputed facts, the enforcement of § 107(2) with respect to Ms. Gaylor and Mr. Barker is not nearly as clear-cut as it initially may have appeared.

      (T)he facts here illustrate that it is conceivable that an atheist who does things that Ms. Gaylor and Mr. Barker do in light of their personally held beliefs and in the course of their employment could meet the requirements for the exclusion in § 107(2), including the definition for "minister" under its terms.

      Non-theistic beliefs may qualify as religious beliefs.

      Non-theistic beliefs, including atheism, may qualify as "religious" beliefs in various contexts because they pertain to religion and fulfill a similar role in a person's life:

      - [W]hen a person sincerely holds
      - beliefs dealing with issues of
      - "ultimate concern" that for her
      - occupy a "place parallel to that
      - filled by...God in traditionally
      - religious persons," those beliefs
      - represent her religion.
      -
      - We have already indicated that
      - atheism may be considered, in
      - this specialized sense, a religion.

      Plaintiffs may not presume that a law's reference to religion necessarily excludes beliefs that are specifically nontheistic
      in nature.

      Dated: June 28, 2013

      Respectfully submitted,
      JOHN W. VAUDREUIL
      United States Attorney

      /s/ Erin Healy Gallagher
      ERIN HEALY GALLAGHER
      U.S. Department of Justice,
      Tax Division
      Post Office Box 7238
      Washington, D.C. 20044

      /s/ Richard Adam Schwartz
      RICHARD ADAM SCHWARTZ
      U.S. Department of Justice,
      Tax Division
      Post Office Box 683
      Washington, D.C. 20044

      Counsel for Defendant

      ---------------------------
      ---------------------------
    • piasanaol
      Nah. They re just pointing out the FFRF folks can t show they ve been discriminated against. They weren t denied anything because they never asked for
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 30, 2013
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        Nah.  They're just pointing out the FFRF folks can't show they've been discriminated against.  They weren't denied anything because they never asked for anything.
         
        It's probably a stalling tactic, but the argument is perfectly valid.


        -----Original Message-----
        From: rlbaty50 <rlbaty@...>
        To: Maury_and_Baty <Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Sat, Jun 29, 2013 12:03 pm
        Subject: [M & B] Atheism as a Religion in the eyes of the law; coming soon?

        Is the Obama Justice Department on the verge of proposing that atheism be 
        accepted as if a religion in the eyes of the IRS, that atheist organizations be 
        accepted as if churches and atheists as if ministers?
        
        It sounds like it from the brief filed yesterday!
        
        IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 
        FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
        
        FREEDOM FROM RELIGION 
        FOUNDATION, INC., 
        ANNIE LAURIE GAYLOR, and 
        DAN BARKER, 
        
        Plaintiffs, 
        
        v. 
        
        UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 
        
        Defendant. 
        
        Case No. 11-cv-0626
        
        UNITED STATES' BRIEF 
        IN SUPPORT OF ITS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
        
        (excerpts)
        
        Ms. Gaylor and Mr. Barker allege that they face discrimination because of the 
        statutory text of § 107(2),4 its implementing regulations, and the manner in 
        which the IRS enforces it.
        
        They neither sought nor were denied its benefits, in which case they would have 
        had resort to a timely refund suit under § 7422. 
        
        Plaintiffs have had no communication at all with the IRS about
        the federal income tax effect of their housing allowances. 
        
        Ms. Gaylor and Mr. Barker have made no effort to claim their housing allowances 
        are excludable from federal
        income tax. 
        
        Rather, Mr. Barker's and Ms. Gaylor's purported injury is that there has been or 
        will be some hypothetical and imminent "discrimination" on the basis of 
        religious criteria in light of any attempt by them to claim an exclusion under § 
        107(2). 
        
        In light of the undisputed facts, the enforcement of § 107(2) with respect to 
        Ms. Gaylor and Mr. Barker is not nearly as clear-cut as it initially may have 
        appeared.
        
        (T)he facts here illustrate that it is conceivable that an atheist who does 
        things that Ms. Gaylor and Mr. Barker do in light of their personally held 
        beliefs and in the course of their employment could meet the requirements for 
        the exclusion in § 107(2), including the definition for "minister" under its 
        terms.
        
        Non-theistic beliefs may qualify as religious beliefs.
        
        Non-theistic beliefs, including atheism, may qualify as "religious" beliefs in 
        various contexts because they pertain to religion and fulfill a similar role in 
        a person's life:
        
        - [W]hen a person sincerely holds 
        - beliefs dealing with issues of
        - "ultimate concern" that for her 
        - occupy a "place parallel to that
        - filled by...God in traditionally 
        - religious persons," those beliefs
        - represent her religion. 
        -
        - We have already indicated that 
        - atheism may be considered, in 
        - this specialized sense, a religion.
        
        Plaintiffs may not presume that a law's reference to religion necessarily 
        excludes beliefs that are specifically nontheistic
        in nature.
        
        Dated: June 28, 2013 
        
        Respectfully submitted,
        JOHN W. VAUDREUIL
        United States Attorney
        
        /s/ Erin Healy Gallagher
        ERIN HEALY GALLAGHER
        U.S. Department of Justice, 
        Tax Division
        Post Office Box 7238
        Washington, D.C. 20044
        
        /s/ Richard Adam Schwartz
        RICHARD ADAM SCHWARTZ
        U.S. Department of Justice, 
        Tax Division
        Post Office Box 683
        Washington, D.C. 20044
        
        Counsel for Defendant
        
        ---------------------------
        ---------------------------
        
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