July 24, 2004

IRS is having a hard time deciding

I called the IRS yesterday and apparently they are having a hard time deciding whether or not to recognize the Church of Reality as a real church. I applied for 501(c)(3) status on December 3rd 2003 and it's not 8 months into a process that normally takes 3 months.

All I know at this point is that it stumped the normal process and that it has been sent to Washington where it is sitting in a queue waiting to be assigned to someone. And they have no idea at all when it will be processed. There is no one to call and no one to email about this. So - if you are the IRS and you are reading this - email me with a phone number and lets talk about whatever issues have you confused. I think you should at least let me know that's going on.

I have some concerns about the "special treatment" of our application. First - the IRS isn't supposed to make decisions on what is believed as long as the members sincerely believe in it. And - our Realists do sincerely believe reality is real. So it makes me wonder if they are thinking that we need to worship a mythological diety in order to be a religion. In other words - does the government require a religion to believe in the invisible guy in the sky? Well - I storngly suspect that if we did we would already have church status.

Officially the Church of Reality doesn't take a position on the existence of God. If God comes out of hiding and shows up somewhere in a public place then we will believe in him. Assuming that God is omnipotent and therefore can appear if he choses to - and he doesn't appear - that means that he wants to be hidden. It really is that simple. And who is God hiding from? Perhaps he is hiding from Realists like myself. And if God doesn't want people like me who are committed to logic and reason to find him - them I must be fulfilling God's will to not find him.

So if believing in reality doesn't meet the IRS requirements for a religion then it seems that in order to be a religion - you have to believe in a mythical diety. You have to give up reality to be a religion. I would think that other religions would have a problem with the idea that they are government certified because their beliefs are not real.

But - perhaps it's that the IRS can't distinguish between the Church of Reality and science. There is a big difference. In pure science it doesn't matter if the human race survives or not. In science - the universe is stars falling into black holes and rocks in space colliding. But we in the Church of Reality have made an arbetrary decision that our understanding has value and the the positive evolution of humanity and our survival is important. We have made arbetrary decisions separating right and wrong - good and bad. And that's what makes us a religion. In pure science there is no good and bad. Our seccess or our destruction is equal. It only matters if we give value to something and that's what the church of Reality does.

The Church of Reality also provides a moral framework for society and principles for which to judge our conduct. These principles set goals and establish the sacred direction - forward - as being better than backwards. It creates a religious identity for Realists to describe to people of other religions what their beliefs and values are.

So - I say to the IRS - we are as much or more of a religion than any other religion and that we deserve recognition as such.

Posted by marc at July 24, 2004 07:48 AM | TrackBack
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