Seventh Circuit Upholds Clergy Housing Allowance
INDIANAPOLIS - On Friday, March 15, 2019, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued the final ruling in Gaylor v. Mnuchin. In a 3-0 decision, the panel found that Section 107(2) of the Internal Revenue Code is constitutional under both the traditional three-factor test set forth in Lemon v. Kurtzman, as well as the “historical significance” test of Town of Greece v. Galloway.
While the Federal Government must take the lead in defending its own laws, Church Alliance filed an Amicus Brief along with the Beckett Fund and several other interested parties. Pension Fund of the Christian Church is one of the forty-two Church Alliance member organizations. The Church Alliance exists to advocate on behalf of clergy and church benefit plans, including legislative work in Washington, DC.
In reviewing the court’s ruling, Pension Fund President / CEO Rev. Dr. Todd A. Adams stated, “the ruling certainly provides good news for our active and retired clergy.” It is still unknown whether the Freedom From Religion Foundation will challenge this to the Supreme Court; many anticipate it doing so. “If this is challenged to SCOTUS, hopefully the court will see it as too controversial and Chief Justice Roberts will maintain his position that he’s not looking for undue attention on the court. Nonetheless, a decisive appellate court decision has put us in a better place,” shared Adams.
Pension Fund will continue to work with Church Alliance to monitor the activity and keep the church informed of any future action.