# 2452 Believe This?

Q. Recently the Government of Canada turned down the tax-exempt status for the Atheistic Church.
If they decide to sell properties, can one buy them or are they considered in Halacha as having been used for avoda zarah?
A. Last week as reported by the press, (N. P. Dec 7), the Federal Court of Appeal upheld Revenue Canada’s rejection of an application for charitable tax- exempt status made by a “Church of Atheism” in Ontario’s Lanark Highlands.
The Halacha viewpoint in regard to this institution depends on what they actually belief. The “Church of Atheism” tried to make the argument that it should qualify for a tax exemption as a teacher and promoter of atheism per se. Using the premise that “advancement of religion” has been recognized for centuries as a charitable purpose in itself. If that would be their only claim, it likely would not be defined as avoda zara.
However, they also proposed to treat its interpretation of “Atheism” as a religion, rather than the absence or rejection of religion. The “Church” maintains the worship of “mainstream science” and claims to possess a “Ten Commandments of Energy” which were “created by a wise human being who consists of pure, invisible Energy and has acknowledged Energy’s existence.”
Revenue Canada had demanded evidence that the CoA believes “in a higher unseen power such as a G-d, Supreme Being, or entity,” but that was not forthcoming, thus the rejection.
One may argue that atheism, although prohibited for Bnai Noach, does not qualify as avoda zara and therefore the resulting restrictions do not apply. However, it has been suggested that they may be believers on the divine power of man and his natural energy, and that may indeed qualify as avoda zara.
Rabbi A, Bartfeld as revised by Horabonim Dovid Pam and Aaron Miller Shlit’a

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