OTTAWA — A federal court has ruled that the so-called Church of Atheism is not a church at all, and can’t be treated like one for tax purposes.
The Ontario-based Church of Atheism of Central Canada has lost its appeal of the Minister of National Revenue’s refusal to register the not-for-profit corporation as a charity.
In a unanimous decision, three judges with the Federal Court of Appeal found the group lacks a specific set of religious beliefs and practices.
The judges say that the issue is not that the Church of Atheism doesn’t believe in a deity, noting that Buddhism, which is a recognized religion, “does not believe in a Supreme Being or any entity at all.”
However, the decision says the organization’s stated belief in “mainstream science” is not specific enough to constitute a “comprehensive system of doctrine and observances.”
The judges also shot down the group’s argument that refusing its charitable status is a violation of members’ charter right to practice their religious beliefs.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2019.
The Canadian Press