U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb, siding once again with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, declared last Friday that the housing tax allowance for pastors is unconstitutional. The decision would affect tens of thousands of pastors, who can currently pay home ownership costs (or rent), including mortgage payments, property taxes, etc. with their untaxed income.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments in response:
"We have seen many courts over the years attempt to banish God in various ways from the public square, but this case in particular reveals a level of supreme arrogance. Once again, Judge Crabb has neglected to consult the Constitution that she was sworn to uphold. Society has long provided this tax housing allowance to clergy because of the tremendous benefit that churches in turn give to society. Clergy help carry the burden of many social ills that would otherwise become the burden of taxpayers and the federal government.
"The Supreme Court has made perfectly clear that neither taxpayers or organizations have standing to bring federal lawsuits with this sort of challenge because the law they are challenging has not caused them any direct harm. This same judge who struck down the National Day of Prayer as unconstitutional has now turned her sights on this tax housing allowance that has been the law for generations. She had ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional and the Seventh Circuit later ruled that this very same plaintiff, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, had not suffered an injury due to the law and so lacked standing to sue in the first place.
"Evidently, Judge Crabb needs to reread what the federal appeals court did the last time she issued this kind of a ruling. Family Research Council will continue to monitor this case closely on behalf of the nearly 25,000 clergy that comprise our pastors network."
There is a stay on the ruling until an appeal can be heard. Here's what you can do:
- Petition Attorney General Eric Holder in the Justice Department of the Obama Administration to appeal this onerous ruling. They have 60 days to decide whether they will appeal it.
- Join us Praying for the Nation, Preaching the whole counsel of God, and Partnering with other Pastors (P3).
Click here to add your name to the petition and become a P3 Pastor.
In the meantime, our attorneys will be monitoring the case closely, and we will keep you updated with any developments.