Religious vs Educational Tax Exemption

Until recently, the American Humanist Association had been a “religious” organization as classified by the IRS.

Why religious?

Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the AHA, shed some light on this in his article in the most recent Humanist Network News. He writes:

The American Humanist Association (AHA) was founded with an educational tax exemption in 1941. In the 1960’s, without specific board authorization, a religious tax exemption was successfully attained from the Internal Revenue Service to enable the organization to provide benefits to humanist celebrants seeking to comply with state marriage laws.

… when the humanist celebrant program became an adjunct of the AHA (now the Humanist Society), the original need for an AHA religious exemption disappeared.

And then, the debates over which adjective correctly described the AHA ensued. Some humanists liked being called religious. Others did not.

Of course, it’s difficult to argue against the fundamentalists’ claim that “Secular Humanism” is a religion when you have a religious tax exemption.

But that case can no longer be made.

And since humanism is not a religion, the educational label is certainly more accurate.

Congratulations to Roy and the AHA on reclaiming their educational status!


[tags]atheist, atheism, American Humanist Association, IRS, Internal Revenue Service, religion, Roy Speckhardt, AHA, Humanist Network News, humanist celebrant, Christian, fundamentalist, Secular Humanism[/tags]

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