Why We Should Protect the Ministerial Housing Allowance Exemption

By John Stonestreet | April 23, 2018 | 8:59am EDT

Why should you care about the pastor’s housing allowance?

Many ministers are exempt from paying income taxes on their housing allowance. Now, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is challenging that exemption in court as an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

But it’s not. For one thing, the ministerial allowance applies to leaders from all faiths, and doesn’t single out a particular religion.

Secondly, allowing ministers to deduct their housing allowance put them on par with people like ranch hands and military personnel–“who [have] very little say in the place of their residence.”


And for many rural pastors, the housing allowance is the largest part of their compensation. This for those who contribute enormous public value in their ministerial and religious work: hospitals, schools, food and clothing banks, and more. No matter what the anti-religious crowd thinks, their work is irreplaceable.

So please, tell your pastor or ministers about this threat: Have them go to to sign a friend of the court brief by April 23rd. Again, that’s

John Stonestreet is President of The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and BreakPoint co-host.

Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by BreakPoint.

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