The organizers of this blog were kind enough to ask me to do some guest-blogging here last month. They’ve now been even kinder in letting me post some more over the next couple of weeks.
A few days ago, a federal district court judge in Wisconsin struck down the so-called “parsonage exemption,” under which practicing clergy get to exclude many of their housing expenses from taxable income. Judge Barbara Crabb held that the exemption, included in § 107 of the Internal Revenue Code, violated the Establishment Clause as, among other things, an unjustified special favor to organized religion. Now, I’m generally a “strict separationist” on Establishment Clause questions. But this decision is quite wrong. And it misunderstands an important piece of our church-state dispensation. Read more