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-Is Atheism a ‘Religion’? US Government Says Yes!

by Dr. D ~ August 21st, 2013

Freedom From Religion Foundation Logo

                                          (FFRF  Logo: Wikipedia)

Is Atheism a ‘religion’? The US government says it is for tax purposes.

In a ironic turn of events, during a lawsuit that the Freedom from Religion Foundation filed to do away with the clergy housing exemption in the tax code, the Justice Department has declared that the leader of the Wisconsin FFRF is eligible for that very exemption.

The foundation filed a legal challenge to the clergy tax exemption in 2009 in California then later dropped the suit and re-filed it in their home state of Wisconsin in 2011. In the government’s legal brief in Federal court, the Justice Department contended that a belief in God wasn’t legally necessary to be considered a ‘religious organization’. Both Buddhism and Taoism do not include a belief in a deity and yet are still considered a religion so atheism could qualify as well. Therefore the leader of the FFRF is eligible for the very clergy exemption in question since atheist groups can essentially function as a religion for it’s members.

From that perspective, the Justice Department moved to have the case dropped since the FFRF can not show any real proof of harm and therefore their standing is now under question. In the meantime, the FFRF does not consider themselves to be a ‘religion’ and has refused the exemption and a federal judge has ruled that the case can more  forward.

For additional information, read this article from The Blaze: “Atheism a Religion? Government Says Yes for Tax Purposes

Response: Is Atheism a religion? What is a religion anyway? Here’s one definition

an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to the supernatural, and to spirituality.”

Another:

“a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith”

Some of the definitions could clearly apply to atheist groups like the FFRF regardless of their protests to the contrary. Their members do share a common cause and a set of beliefs or un-beliefs in this case. It will be interesting to watch how this plays out in the courts.            *Top

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4 Responses to -Is Atheism a ‘Religion’? US Government Says Yes!

  1. Robert JR Graham » ‘Religion to Become Minority View by 2041′

    […] -Is Atheism a ‘Religion’? US Government Says Yes! […]

  2. Brian

    Any religious leader, whether Christian, Jewish, Moslem, Buddhist, etc provides spiritual counseling and moral instruction to his or her followers. Thus, if you are Buddhist priest, you could counsel a follower for depression or grief, or provide advice for a moral dilemma, or otherwise provide advice and support of a spiritual or moral nature.

    I submit that the leader of the FFRF has, in his entire tenure as leader of the FFRF, never counseled a single member of that organization for any spiritual or moral need. I submit that the leader of the FFRF has, in his entire tenure as leader of the FFRF, never counseled a single member in regard to a moral or ethical question. Nor, I submit, has the FFRF head filled any other traditionally recognized clergy role in regard to his followers.

    The leader of the FFRF is the head of a political lobbying and litigation organization, akin to the ACLU. The closest analogous organization having religious ties is not a church, but is an organization such as Alliance Defendant Freedom.

    So, if the FFRF head gets a clergy housing exemption, so should the head of ADF.

    Brian

  3. Dr. D

    Good points Brian.

  4. Was the Bible really divinely inspired? - Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Atheism, God, Universe, Science, Spirituality, Faith, Evidence - Page 5 - City-Data Forum

    […] -Is Atheism a ‘Religion’? US Government Says Yes! | ANSWERS For The Faith Further, it appears that "atheism" is now a defined religion, religion being defined as "a cause or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith." In other words, atheists have fought so long and so hard to "eliminate" religion from the government, that they have indeed been classified by the courts as a religion in and of themselves. It's like a deer caught in the headlights—the fight has been so vitriol that they have no given grounds to Christian groups to counter-sue when atheists go too far. And it's why atheists will soon have their own chaplains in the military. I find it all quite ironic, especially since ignoring the "trappings" of religion would have probably been the best course of action for atheists. I do, however, fully support suing when religion is intrusive into the lives of others. And apparently, thank GOD, the courts will be ruling about what is intrusive and what is not. So, believing that atheists have not been quite active in attacking Christianity is proved false by—————the EVIDENCE. […]

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