► U.S. Judge Barbara Crabb of Madison, WI; one of the Good Gals Print E-mail

U.S. Judge Barbara Crabb of Madison, WI; one of the Good Gals


The state of California presented William H. Follett with a law license in 1962 after she graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School.


In one matter, Judge Crabb was assigned to preside over a case involving the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist organization that challenged a law by claiming that a tax break for housing for members of the clergy violated the First Amendment’s “establishment clause” that prohibits the governments endorsement of religion. (Nicole Russell)


In ruling in favor of FFRF, Judge Crabb addressed the “unique benefit” that ministers receive under the personal allowing by stating:

  • "A desire to alleviate financial hardship on taxpayers is a legitimate purpose, but it is not a secular purpose when Congress eliminates the burden for a group made up of solely religious employees but maintains it for nearly everyone else."
  • "Although defendants try to characterize § 107(2) as an effort by Congress to treat ministers fairly and avoid religious entanglement, the plain language of the statute, its legislative history and its operation in practice all demonstrate a preference for ministers over secular employees."

I personally agree with Judge Crabb that the taxpayers should not be forced to underwrite the costs of housing a minister and his/her family regardless of the minister’s religious affiliation.


In fact, I firmly believe that it should be unconstitutional to allow churches of all faiths total tax exemption. I’m a catholic and I don’t believe Mormons, Lutherans, Jews, Pentecostals or Southern Baptists should pay taxes to support the Catholic Church. Of course, the opposite also applies.


In my opinion, if one wishes to become a member of a particular church, then he/she must be willing to personally assist in financially supporting that entity. To argue otherwise is to suggest that Catholics are required to pay taxes to support the financial costs to operate Ron Hubbard’s Church of Scientology.


And lastly, the group that is really being discriminated against by being forced to pay taxes to support each recognized religion in the U.S. of A. are atheists.


Kudos to Judge Crabb for having the courage to render a decision that recognizes that costs to house members of the clergy are not tax deductible.


As we speak (ca. October 2017), Judge Crabb continues to sit as a U.S. District Court judge in Madison, Wisconsin. 


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