September 16, 2019

IRS Grants Tax-Exempt Status to Lesbian ‘Pussy Worship’ Church

Pussy Church of Modern Witchcraft logo

Last week, Peter Reilly wrote in Forbes that an IRS decision to grant coveted tax-exempt status to the lesbian-centered Pussy Church of Modern Witchcraft was not well-received by individuals who believe the church’s sapphic stance to be exclusionary of men. Well duh, that’s kind of the point.

At a time when people who up until recently never thought twice about whether that tall lady at the mirror next to them in the restroom may have been born a man are suddenly taking sides on so-called bathroom bills, it’s an interesting time for a lesbian-led organization to come out (no pun) and take such a strong stance on the issue.

“The Pussy Church serves Women and Girls only. Males are not permitted to participate, regardless of how they identify. We expressly reject the concepts of gender identity, transgenderism, and gender as being meaningful to defining what a Woman or Girl is,” PCMW writes on its website. “We come together to form a congregation of adherents to our female born, lesbian-feminist-based religions beliefs and traditions,” it reads. “At Pussy Church, we serve Women and Girls and our emotional and spiritual needs. We cannot serve these needs in the presence of men, as men as a class are the cause of the harm that women experience globally.”

I’ll be honest: they ain’t wrong (please forward hate mail to me on Twitter). Though Antonia Elle D’orsay of The Trans 100 disagrees.

“This church is relying on a religious belief founded in secular materials which are often explicitly hostile to religion as a whole,” she told Forbes. “It would be like the IRS recognizing a group which promotes slavery texts as a basis — there is no genuine religious belief there.”

You mean … like the Bible? I’m no theologist but that thing is jam-packed with all kinds of messed up stuff. Take St. Paul in 1 Timothy 2:12 for example: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” Or, perhaps slightly more on topic, sage advice for the beholden in 1 Peter 2:18: “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.”

The Pussy Church isn’t the first example of a controversial religious order enjoying the benefits of tax-exempt status. I mean, donations to the Westboro Baptist Church for them to purchase “God Hates Fags” signs for their next protest are tax-deductible for Christ’s sake. Or perhaps not for His sake, specifically.

Back to Forbes, Reilly says his source informed him that “the approval process was reasonably quick and there was no push-back from the IRS,” which he credits to good legal work on the part of the church.

He writes:

I think that the legal work that went into forming PCMW was quite good. The fact that it sailed through the approval process is not necessarily evidence of that since the IRS is under a lot of pressure and committed to speedily dealing with exempt applications. That is fallout from the seemingly interminable scandal. Nonetheless, as a layman, I see the handiwork of a good lawyer in the articles of PCMW. Whether an organization is a church or not as far as the IRS is concerned is a facts and circumstances determination that has nothing to do with its underlying belief system.

It is in this spirit that we have to recognize the IRS’s position here. In approving tax-exempt religious organizations, it is not up to them to determine whether or not that organization is morally ideal. To do so would go against the view of our founding fathers, who came to America for the purpose of religious freedom. Either we live in a country of religious freedom or we don’t, there is no in-between here.

Still, the public at large has every right to hem and haw over whether or not this decision is just. The IRS simply used its “is this a church” checklist to approve the church’s application for exempt status. Since 2011, the IRS has allowed transgender peeps to deduct the costs of hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery from their gross income as medical expenses for the treatment of gender identity disorder, so no reasonable person could say the IRS hates trans people. Hell, the IRS hates all of us equally. God bless ’em.

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