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The Catholic sexual abuse scandal has been horrific but has fascinated many. People involved have interests and agendas. Victims seek healing. Both victims and opportunists often seek large sums of money. The Church has worked to protect a current generation of children, to determine how to discipline erring priests and protect innocent ones, and also to survive organizationally in the face of an enormous financial threat. Some attorneys have made millions suing the Church, and others, like me, have been on the defense side of investigations to assist the Church in serving victims and in limiting damages. With literally thousands of articles written, news stories have been profitable for the media and have intrigued readers.
This memorandum describes the annual information return filing requirements for religious organizations and other tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations (excluding private foundations and supporting organizations).
The national dialogue on religious law issues often generates more heat than light. In public debate, speakers stand on a soapbox shouting and cheer-leading their own side.Voices get shrill and invective flies about the “other side.” Let’s take one common example. Free exercise in the public schools touches two passions—people’s religion and their children. And it triggers protective feelings because of deep fears.
Three recent federal circuit court decisions address how conservative Christian therapists may interact with homosexual clients in cases where personal beliefs may conflict with a duty of client care. Despite different outcomes, there may be common principles. Schools and employers may not require therapists to change their religious convictions, but under the American Counseling Association (ACA) code of ethics, therapists may not impose values on their clients. Referrals can solve the problem, if done tactfully.
A minister may not claim more than one residence under the parsonage allowance exemption, based on the opinion in Comm'r of IRS v. Driscoll, issued February 8, 2012 by the Eleventh Circuit. For some time, debate has raged about this issue, both on statutory and fairness grounds, so this is an important decision.