Chicago, Ill., Apr 21, 2018 / 05:01 am America/Denver (CNA).
Religious leaders in Chicago are fighting to end a lawsuit filed by an atheist group that would impose upwards of $1 billion in taxes for churches around the nation.
The lawsuit, Gaylor v. Mnuchin, was filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The case aims to end the parsonage allowance, a federal tax provision used by religious establishments such as churches, mosques, and synagogues, which offers a housing allowance to help religious leaders live in the communities they serve.
Chris Butler, pastor of the south-side Chicago Embassy Church requested April 19 that a federal appeals court throw out the lawsuit on discriminatory grounds. Butler is joined by other ecclesial communities and Churches, including leaders from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia's Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America and Holy Cross Anglican Church.
“For the majority of churches, the pastors are like me and experience at some level the same problems that we’re trying to face in the community,” said Butler, according to a recent statement from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
“If you take away even a little bit, it can become a lot of trouble quickly.”