"We are not a church," atheists say. Government lawyers disagree, saying atheist leaders can be considered ministers.
Gaylor, head of the Madison, Wisc.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, wants to stop them — and she's asking a federal judge for help.
The standoff is the latest twist in a court battle over the parsonage exemption for clergy, a tax break that allows "ministers of the gospel" to claim part of their salary as a tax-free housing allowance.
Gaylor's organization says the exemption gives religious groups an unfair advantage. That makes it unconstitutional, the foundation's lawsuit claims.
But government lawyers say that atheist leaders can be ministers, too, since atheism can function as a religion. So leaders of an atheist organization may qualify for the exemption.
Written By: Bob Smietanacontinue to source article at usatoday.com