Why pastors’ housing allowance is tax-exempt

As we reported, an appeals court upheld the practice of pastors not having to pay taxes on their housing allowance.  But, you might ask, why is that?  Joe Carter explains the history of that provision, putting it into the context of the laws exempting religious property from taxation that go back through English Common Law  into ancient times. [Read more...]

Why non-conformists look the same

A mathematician took up the topic of hipsters.  Specifically, why different individuals who try not to conform to what is seen as normal end up looking and acting very much like each other.

After the jump, read the details, link to the math, and consider my thoughts on the matter, which offers a different account of non-conformists and sort of a defense of hipsters. [Read more...]

The Obamacare confession

When I heard about the Obama operative who said that the passage of Obamacare was helped by Americans’ “stupidity,” I assumed it was just a gaffe, with which Republicans could play “gotcha.”  But it turns out, the comment was in the context of a frank explanation in front of a friendly liberal audience at MIT about how the administration got Obamacare through Congress.

And the operative’s other comments are even more damaging to the bill.  A second video supports the opponents’ of the law’s case before the Supreme Court by indicating that the language restricting subsidies to state exchanges was intentional. [Read more...]

Pastors’ housing allowance upheld

Pastors have traditionally been allowed to take a large percentage of their salary as a tax-free housing allowance.  A lower court last year ruled that the benefit is unconstitutional.  But now an appeals court has overturned that decision, meaning that the housing allowance is still on. [Read more...]

“Two Kingdoms” from another Lutheran at Patheos

Another Lutheran joins me here at Patheos, Rebecca Florence Miller.   She has made a splash already with her post Why Christians Should Stand Up for Atheists,  which makes the case that religious liberty is for everyone, including those who reject religion.   (Atheists are reportedly astounded that a conservative Christians is standing up for them, but that should happen more than it usually does on an issue like this.)  But I leave you, after the jump, with a post that explains very well the Lutheran doctrine of culture and social engagement:  The Two Kingdoms. [Read more...]

Landing on a comet

A probe from the European Space Agency landed on a comet, an object just two and half miles wide, 300 million miles away.  That’s quite a feat of engineering.

The Philae lander beamed back images showing one of its three feet on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko . This photo is compiled from two images; a wider version will be released later Thursday.

[Read more...]


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