Tag Archives: Freedom from Religion Foundation

Federal Court Rules Religious Housing Tax Exemption Unconstitutional

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logo of the Internal Revenue ServiceOn Friday, November 22nd, a Federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that the ‘parsonage exemption’ which allowed churches to provide housing allowances to ministers tax free was a violation of the 1st amendment of the US Constitution. In the ruling the judge said since the tax exemption had no secular purpose and excluded the non-religious, it was unconstitutional. If the ruling holds up on appeal it would bring some fairness to the tax code for nonprofits and might make some of the televangelists, who own many homes, more accountable for their lavish spending.
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Conversation Shows Theists Won’t Allow Freedom Of Religion For Others

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screencap Jackson OH Jesus location in High School building
Jackson OH Jesus location in High School building

The other day I posted an update to the Jackson, Ohio school district Jesus painting court case. Someone on twitter sent me a strong reaction tweet about it and the ensuing conversation shows that some theists don’t want religious freedom for others – just themselves.
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Ohio School District Will Remove Jesus Painting And Pay $90,000

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screenshot from news report about Jesus painting in Jackson Ohio middle school
Jesus painting in Jackson Ohio middle school before it was moved to the High School in March

Eight months after a lawsuit was filed against a Jackson County Ohio school district over a Jesus painting that had hung in a stairwell of the middle school building for 66 years, a final settlement has concluded the case. The Jackson City School District agreed to remove the painting from school district property and pay $3,000 in damages to each of the suit’s five anonymous plaintiffs as well as the legal costs for the ACLU and Freedom from Religion Foundation.
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The Price For Getting Political Should Cost Churches $82.5 Billion

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photo of a church serviceChurches get tax exemptions yet some want to get more involved in politics without losing those exemptions. Tax exemptions were a way of promoting the separation of church and state by limiting the influence of government on religion – a government might try to influence what a church supports or teaches by using the tax rates for example. The cost of this protection also limits how involved a church can get in politics. Some on the religious right want to remove those limits of involvement and I think if they do get those restricts removed they should then pay taxes. It is only fair, right?
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Church State Group Concerned About Design of Ohio Holocaust Memorial

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photo showing Large Star of David on Ohio Holocaust Memorial design
Large Star of David on Ohio Holocaust Memorial design

Last month, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter of complaint to Ohio State Senator Richard H. Finan over the selected design of the Holocaust memorial that will be built on the grounds of the Ohio State House in downtown Columbus. The design, by Daniel Libeskind, features a large representation of the Star of David, a symbol of the Jewish religion. FFRF rightly points out that the Star of David is a religious symbol and Jews weren’t the only victims of the Holocaust. They are asking for a more inclusive design. There will be a public hearing on July 18th and FFRF is asking for as many secular supporters as possible to show up at the meeting to give voice to their concern. It seems that Senator Finan might be thinking the same thing about the design.
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Update: Jackson Ohio City Schools Finally Makes Right Choice – Removes Jesus Picture

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screencap Jackson OH Jesus location in High School building
Jackson OH Jesus location in High School building

During a federal court hearing in Columbus on Tuesday, lawyers for the Jackson Ohio City Schools agreed to remove the picture of Jesus that was at the center of a church & state lawsuit brought by the Freedom of Religion Foundation and the ACLU. The district claims its insurance company wouldn’t cover the costs of the lawsuit. There is no word if the lawsuit will continue but for now the district made the right decision.
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