What does it say about a movement when they come after a minister’s home?
For seven years, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (a name that says it all) has been trying to destroy the tradition of providing pastors with housing. And now they’ve gotten a win in the courts.
For centuries, being a pastor has meant going where you’re needed most. Very few ministers are wealthy – they’re more likely to be scraping by and raising a family on a small salary. So the tradition in many Christian churches includes providing a home for the local pastor and his family.
It’s a tradition that goes back centuries and existed before we were a nation. In 1954, Congress recognized that ministers (along with teachers, soldiers, and other workers who need to live somewhere specific to carry out their work) would not be able to do the job if their housing was counted as part of their income. That’s why Congress passed the Housing Exclusion, a special consideration for people who live in the community they serve at the behest of their employer (and whose housing is provided by the employer for that purpose).
Now, a Leftist group is trying to get the housing exclusion ruled unconstitutional. Their motives are purely anti-religious. Tthey want pastors and others who get housing via a church to pay taxes on that housing. If they are successful, it’s estimated that it will cost pastors across the country a collective $1 billion or more in new taxes – taxes that they cannot afford to pay.
Practically speaking, it’s another sideways method of using the courts to shut down churches and their ministries. If a pastor cannot afford to pay taxes for his or her housing, he or she may not be able to continue working in that church. Churches (especially smaller ones) may find themselves without a regular minister and unable to go on offering services to the community.
And it doesn’t just affect pastors. The decision would also affect retired ministers and nonreligious employees as well.
While a federal district court in Wisconsin recently declared the housing exemption unconstitutional, we’re not ready to give up the fight. The case is currently on appeal, and multiple groups, churches, and synagogues have filed briefs explaining how devastating this decision will be to ministers and churches if it is allowed to stand.
If you’ve ever wondered why elections are so important, here is your answer. Unable to win at the ballot box, the far Left has taken their anti-faith activism to the courts. That’s how they got same-sex marriage pushed onto an unwilling country, and that’s their plan for forcing transgender ideology on us as well. The wedding cake case, the efforts to silence crisis pregnancy centers, and cases like the housing exemption case are all part of the Left’s judicial strategy to silence Christians.
If you care about these issues, then the single most important thing you can do in November is ask yourself how each candidate will vote when it comes judicial nominees. Because without a President who will nominate judges who support religious freedom and a Senate who will confirm those judges, we will lose ground in the battle for religious freedom.
Take, for example, CAAP’s petition opposing California’s attempt to ban Christian counseling for adults. (If you haven’t already done so, please remember to sign and share it.) If the California bill passes, it will become the next legal battle over religious liberty. What judges will be hearing that case depends on us.
And it’s not just about voting – it’s about education as well. We need to reach out to voters and help them understand why their vote can influence cases like these. That’s why CAAP has started the Crossroad Initiative – to put our country back on the right path.
And we need your help! Please consider supporting the Crossroad effort by making your gift to CAAP through our secure donation link.
Finally, I want to end on a more hopeful note. Last week, I asked you to pray and contact the governor of Iowa in support of that state’s Heartbeat Bill. I have good news. Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the bill, thereby extending protection for unborn babies whose heartbeats can be detected. This is a great victory, and I want to thank you for your prayers and support. Credit also goes to our friend Janet Porter of Faith 2 Action, who helped author the legislation with the help of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, was tireless in her support of the bill.
It just goes to show that this nation is ready for a change. All we need to do is come together in faith and put our country on the right path.