There are parallels to this biblical example in the current regime of religiously-based social security exemptions. Ministers, members of religious orders, Christian Science practitioners and members of certain religious faiths may receive an exemption from social security taxes based on a religious or conscientious objection. This article will first review the current law granting exemption for these groups. It will next review the historical development of these exemptions in light of the overall expansion of the social security program to show the ad hoc approach Congress took in granting these religiously-based exemptions. It will then analyze the constitutionality of the exemptions under the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause, and its legality under RFRA. The article concludes that the exemptions are constitutional, but fail to meet the requirements of RFRA. It then recommends modest changes in the law to improve the equity and coherence of the exemptions.
Harwood, James Glenn
"Religiously-Based Social Security Exemptions: Who is Eligible, How Did They Develop, and Are the Exemptions Consistent With the Religion Clauses and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)?,"
Akron Tax Journal: Vol. 17
, Article 1.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akrontaxjournal/vol17/iss1/1