The Freedom From Religion Foundation (which is dedicated to the proposition that atheists should never, ever be reminded that they have to share society with primitive savages religious believers) has filed a suit seek to strike down the clergy housing allowance, previously reported on here. The Pacific Justice Institute, which is contesting the suit, has an update that contains a priceless piece of comedy:
Opening briefs were filed last week with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in a lawsuit filed by atheist Michael Newdow and the Freedom From Religion Foundation against a centuries-old practice of giving ministers a “parsonage allowance” or tax exemption for their housing.
The Ninth Circuit will consider who gets to defend the federal and state statutes being challenged. A group of ministers represented by Pacific Justice Institute sought to intervene as defendants in the case, since they would be most directly affected by the outcome of the case.
A federal district judge in Sacramento ruled in December that the IRS and state tax collectors would adequately represent the ministers’ efforts to maintain their current exemptions, even though PJI attorneys pointed out that tax authorities have significant revenue to gain and nothing to lose if the atheists prevail. The IRS has also previously sought to limit the scope of the ministerial housing allowance. The Sacramento court dismissed PJI’s concerns about these conflicts of interest as being overly “cynical” toward the government. [Emphasis added.]
Cynicism about the government? What would ever make one cynical regarding the tendency of the government to suck up every dollar it can? Why would anyone think that the IRS might not give its very best effort to defend a law or rule that they’ve sought to limit in the past? What a ridiculous notion!
PJI President Brad Dacus commented, “Achieving justice in our courts requires the time-honored adversarial system, where all sides of a case are fully heard. When government tax collectors have every incentive to agree with the people suing them, you cannot expect a vigorous defense, and it is vital that the ministers who will be most affected by the outcome of this case be allowed to intervene. The IRS defending a tax exemption is like the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse.”
Come on, Brad, you can do better than that. How about this: having the IRS defending a tax exemption is like
•PETA defending the health benefits of all-you-can-eat barbecue buffets;
•George Steinbrenner advocating a major league baseball salary cap;
•Hugo Chavez speaking out on behalf of a free press;
•Planned Parenthood lobbying for raising the age of sexual consent;
•Greenpeace arguing for increased oil exploration;
•The National Rifle Association campaigning for restrictive gun laws;
•Michael Moore calling for the abolition of all-you-can-eat barbecue buffets;
•The Freedom From Religion Foundation granting the right of religious believers to do anything in public where the delicate eyes or ears of atheists might be exposed to the horrors of faith.
(Via the Layman Online.)