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Atheists’ Lawsuit Challenging Special Treatment of Churches by IRS Dismissed

American Atheists announced on Monday that its lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service in American Atheists v. Shulman was dismissed on standing by the Eastern District Court of Kentucky. The case alleged that the IRS discriminates in its filing requirements for nonreligious nonprofit organizations compared to its requirements for religious organizations and churches.

 “We’re very disappointed in the court’s decision,” said American Atheists President Dave Silverman. “The court has upheld a prejudiced government practice. This isn’t just about atheists; American Atheists will continue to fight this blatant discrimination on behalf of all taxpayers and all Americans. Make no mistake: this case is not over. ”

“We are reviewing our legal options,” said American Atheists Interim National Legal Director Eric Husby. “Giving churches and houses of worship the benefits of tax-exempt status without requiring them to play by the same rules as everyone else is fundamentally unequal. We all deserve a government that treats everyone the same.”

The lawsuit, originally filed on December 12, 2012, lists American Atheists with two co-plaintiffs, Atheist Archives of Kentucky, Inc. and Atheists of Northern Indiana, Inc. The text of the suit is available online at the link below, and more information is available on the website.


Text of suit from December 12, 2012:

More information:

Text of opinion from May 19, 2014:

For more information, contact:

Dave Muscato, Public Relations Director 908-276-7300 x7, [email protected]


AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that defends civil rights for atheists, freethinkers, and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of religion and government; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy. American Atheists was founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray O’Hair.


American Atheists, Inc.
P.O. Box 158
Cranford, NJ 07016

Tel: (908) 276-7300
Fax: (908) 276-7402