ULC Case Law
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What defines a church? This question has bedeviled tax courts for years. The IRS has adopted a list of 14 criteria set out in De La Salle v. United States. Commonly referred to as the “fourteen points test”, it is important to note that the judges in the case did not intend for there to be a minimum number of criteria an organization must meet in order to satisfy the definition of a “church” as enumerated in their opinions.
In applying the Fourteen Points analysis to determine whether a religious organization may properly be characterized as a church, the IRS considers whether the organization has the following characteristics:
Scholarly analysis of the Fourteen Points by Robert Louthian and Thomas Miller recognized that the determination of what defines a church cannot be made solely on the number of the Fourteen Points a church meets. To quote: “Given the variety of religious practice… Attempts to use a dogmatic numerical approach might unconstitutionally favor established churches at the expense of newer, less traditional institutions.”
The Monastery adheres to the Fourteen Points as we think it is better to err on the side of caution when dealing with the IRS as the 2010 Church and Non-Profit Tax and Financial Guide book recommends. This is not, however, a tacit endorsement of the exclusionary and discriminating character of the Fourteen Points.
Recently, the Supreme Court declined to review a lower court’s ruling that a Texas voter identification law discriminates against minorities. The Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Roberts noted that there is still additional work for lower courts to do reviewing these laws. The lower court case in question concerns a decision by the United States Read More
The Biloxi School District in Biloxi, Mississippi has attempted to make changes in response to a complaint that was made by a national freedom-from-religion advocacy group regarding religion in schools. This change was made to help ensure that school officials do not participate in or promote religious events. How the Case Began Freedom from Read More
An effort to end the North Carolina HB2 law, referred to as the “bathroom bill,” recently failed. The proposed repeal would have ended a compromised law that targets LGBTQ individuals, but opposing sides in the debate failed to do anything. The debate concerning HB2 is particularly complicated and involves a variety of laws, parties with Read More
As Inauguration Day has come and gone, the legislature of the United States has switched presidents and political parties, meaning LGBTQ law is likely to change. Proposed changes in legislation under this new administration will affect individuals of a variety of sexes, races, religions, and ethnicities. Individuals who are interested in LGBTQ rights should Read More
A group of demonstrators at Boca Raton Community Middle School would like a teacher who has expressed alternative religious views removed from the faculty. Language Arts teacher Preston Smith has erected a Satanic religious display over the holiday season that features a pentagram and sign declaring “In Satan We Trust” that stands next to Read More