Catholic Charities Activity Deemed Secular Social Justice not Religious in WI Supreme Court

In a recent ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, exemptions allowing religious organizations to avoid paying the state’s unemployment tax have been narrowed. The decision, which came down in a 4-3 split, stated that the Catholic Charities Bureau, based in Superior, does not qualify for such exemptions as its primary operations are deemed secular rather than religious.

Catholic Charities is instrumental in assisting the illegal invasion of the United States through various state NGOs and Nonprofits, as uncovered by Real America’s Voice, Ben Bergauam’s reporting.

The court’s majority opinion, articulated by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, highlighted that while the motivation behind Catholic Charities Bureau’s activities may stem from Catholic teachings, the actual services provided are secular in nature. This decision sets a higher standard for religious organizations seeking tax exemptions, requiring them to demonstrate that their charitable operations are primarily religious in nature.

The case garnered national attention, with various religious groups filing briefs in support of Catholic Charities Bureau, including Catholic Conferences from neighboring states, the American Islamic Congress, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and others. Eric Rassbach, representing the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, criticized the ruling, emphasizing the religious nature of Catholic Charities Bureau despite the court’s decision.

Wisconsin law mandates religious organizations to pay an unemployment tax, which funds benefits for unemployed workers. However, exemptions are provided for religious entities. Catholic Charities Bureau, a social ministry arm of the Catholic dioceses in Wisconsin, oversees numerous programs aimed at aiding the elderly, disabled, low-income families, and disaster victims, irrespective of their religious affiliation.

The legal battle, spanning five years, centered on whether Catholic Charities Bureau and its subentities qualified for the religious exemption. While the appeals court ruled against them, the Supreme Court upheld the decision, noting that the entities neither promote Catholic faith nor provide religious materials to participants or employees.

Justice Rebecca Bradley, in her dissent, criticized the majority’s interpretation, arguing that it unfairly deprives Catholic Charities of the exemption and overly involves the government in religious matters. She asserted that the court’s criteria for determining religious activities are unconstitutional and undermine the autonomy of religious organizations.

The ruling sets a precedent that may impact similar cases across the country, prompting religious organizations to reassess their eligibility for tax exemptions based on the religious nature of their charitable activities.

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