Happy Thanksgiving from the National Center for Life and Liberty! We hope you have a blessed day enjoying your family and giving thanks for all that God has blessed you with. We are thankful for your prayers, support, and for the privilege of living in the greatest nation in the world.
Christmastime in America. The image evokes the warm glow of candle-lit windows, snow-laden trees, stockings and candy canes, twinkling lights, and soft angelic music. But if Christmas is truly “the most wonderful time of the year,” then why does a manger scene at city hall stir up such tremendous conflict? And why does a third grader's wish to give out red and green pencils with a Christian message create such a firestorm between parents and public school administrators? The reason is simple: Jesus Christ, the most controversial person in history.
On Friday, a United States federal court judge in Wisconsin ruled that that the longstanding housing allowance for pastors is unconstitutional. Judge Barbara Crabb stated that the housing allowance exception “provides a benefit to religious persons and no one else, even though doing so is not necessary to alleviate a special burden on religious exercise.”
What you need to know and how this ruling affects pastors: It is important to note that this decision is from a United States federal trial court in Wisconsin. What this means is that—for right now—this particular district in Wisconsin is all that is affected. If the case is appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, then that appeals court will be deciding the matter for the states of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. For now, if you are a pastor in Wisconsin, there is a good chance that the Seventh Circuit will have ruled on this by the time taxes are due in April. Even if the decision comes out after Tax Day in April, the IRS grants extensions that extend the deadline from April to October, which is ample time for this case to be resolved.