In a win for Religious Freedom advocates across the United States, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has had their case thrown out of court. According to the Family Research Council, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals chose to negate the original ruling that the housing tax allowance for clergy is unconstitutional. The original case was won by FFRF, but was appealed to the 7th Circuit. The ruling by the Appeals Court stated that because FFRF was not injured in “concrete and personal way”, the injury could be traced to the defendant, and a favorable judicial decision would remedy the injury. In short – FFRF was not in any way harmed by the tax allowance afforded to religious clergy in the United States.
The Court went on to state that simply being offended by the actions of the Government is not grounds for suing. While the Court recognized that the atheist group does not agree with tax breaks for religious clergy, providing equal tax breaks for all clergy – regardless of their denomination – does not violate the First Amendment’s guarantee that the Government will not infringe on the Religious Freedom of the citizens of the U.S.
The Freedom From Religious Foundation has been struggling for a major victory in their battle against the free expression of religion in the U.S. The initial victory they had in this case demonstrates that their message is being heard, even by the courts in the U.S. Had the ruling not been overturned, the group would have something to stand on as they continue to put pressure on the Government to remove religion completely from the United States, starting with any show of support for the First Amendment Rights by any Government body.
Those hoping to maintain the Freedoms the people of the U.S. have enjoyed since the drafting of the Constitution in the eighteenth century need to remain aware of the challenges to those Freedoms from those individuals and groups that hope to diminish or eliminate what the Founders established, and what sets the United States apart from every other nation in the world: Freedom. Freedom of Religion has been a cornerstone of American society from the time of the colonies, and keeping it a cornerstone will allow the United States to continue to demonstrate to the world what it means to be free.
Groups like FFRF have a right to express their views, that is their Freedom of Speech, but when they try to diminish the other Rights established by the Constitution, they are infringing on the Rights of others, and their Rights become a moot point. The Government cannot allow any group to challenge the Rights of any other person or group, and this commitment to Freedom of Religion has been clearly demonstrated by the 7th Court of Appeals as they overturned the standing that the tax break for clergy is unconstitutional.