April Newsletter

04/14
 
Business people
Homosexualty and the Church...
Is it time for the evangelical community to reconsider their approach?

 

Whether it be in the family, society, workplace or local church, it is an issue that is here to stay. One pastor, Ken Wilson, recently published a provocative book in which he examined his own thoughts and position on the issue and concluded that it was time to reconsider how he and his church should respond. (Below is a link to a thought-provoking article he wrote, and no doubt his book will make for interesting reading as well.) But whether one agrees with his conclusions or not, I believe one thing is clear...it is time for the evangelical community of churches to consider the issue and what its response will be when openly gay and lesbian individuals and couples come through the doors seeking to worship, join (and perhaps even work in) the your church.

 

Though currently the church is given a great deal of discretion under federal law to discriminate in its hiring and employment practices on the basis of religious beliefs, the issue is being challenged almost weekly. This May, CMA will sponsor a seminar in Reno that will focus on the issue of gender identification and its expression in the workplace. Jason Guinasso, Esq., a local Christian attorney who specializes in the area of employment law, will speak to the issue. For more information look at the information in the right column, or call our office at 408-703-6568.

 

Yours in His service,

 

Stephen Boersma, Ph.D.

President/CEO

 

Click HERE to read the article, "What C.S. Lewis' Marriage Can Tell Us About the Gay Marriage Controversy."

Click HERE for more information on the book, A Letter to My Congregation by Ken Wilson.

 

Expanded Tax Credits for Small Businesses and Churches

 

A group of Senate Democrats on February 28 introduced legislation, the Small Business Tax Credits Accessibility Bill (Sen 2069), which would make purchasing health care coverage more affordable for small businesses (including churches and other nonprofits) by expanding tax credits currently available only to larger enterprises. The lawmakers said they believe the tax credit should be available for a longer period of time and accessible to more people.

 

The bill, if passed and signed by the President, would expand eligibility and simplify the process by increasing the maximum size of the business that is eligible to receive the tax credits from 25 employees to 50 employees, and extend a 35-percent tax credit to small businesses purchasing coverage outside the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplace in 2014, while maintaining the tax credit of 50 percent for coverage purchased on the SHOP exchange. In addition,...Read More...

 

Government Files Latest Brief in Response to Clergy Housing Challenge

 

The lawsuit by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) challenging the housing exclusion currently afforded clergy under federal law proceeded this month, as the federal government filed a legal response brief in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals defending the constitutionality of the law, and arguing that FFRF lacks legal standing to bring the case.

 

Reciting the history behind the longstanding clergy housing provisions now found in Sec. 107 of the tax code, the government's brief summarizes the proceedings thus far in the case and goes on to explain why the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS believe the Western District of Wisconsin reached the wrong conclusion in finding the clergy housing allowance exclusion unconstitutional...Read More...

 

Tax Reform Plans Continuing to be Discussed in Washington

 

Plans were recently unveiled by the House of Representatives to reform the federal tax code.  While the primary goal(s) of the proposed legislation appears to be one of lowering tax rates and making the overall tax code simpler and fairer for families and businesses, there are a number of items in the proposed legislation that could reduce incentives for charitable giving, things that would significantly impact churches and charities in general.

 

Here are a few of the proposals included in the draft legislation which could have significant consequences for religious and charitable organizations and their supporters:

  1. Charitable giving incentives.  A proposed 2% floor on charitable contributions is under consideration, meaning that only gifts to charity above 2% of an individual's adjusted gross income (AGI) could be deductible.  Representing a significant change, when coupled with a proposed increase in the standard deduction and cuts to other itemized deductions, such as the mortgage interest tax deduction, it is estimated that the number of taxpayers who would ultimately be better off tax wise itemizing deductions could drop to 5% of overall tax filers. and therefore be afforded the deduction as an incentive to give to charity...Read More...

Employment Corner

 

While Jason will be speaking in Reno next month, in San Jose attorney Rona Layton will once again be joining us to discuss all the latest changes and updates to federal and California employment regulations - and there are many. California has already approved an increase in the minimum wage, and the federal government is expected to follow suit, perhaps as early as the end of the year. In addition, other changes to hiring requirements, documentation and work-place conditions have changed. You're going to want to join us for this informative event. More information in the right column.

  

May Event
Mark your calendars!

 Employment Law Update

 

Join us in San Jose or Reno for our May Luncheon Seminar.

 

San Jose

Crossroads Bible Church

Thursday, May 15th

 

Speaker: Ms. Rona Layton, an employment law attorney, and longtime friend of CMA.

 

Topics:

  • Minimum Wage and Hour Obligations
  • Meal and Rest Periods
  • Discrimination and Retaliation Protections
  • New Immigrant and Undocumented Worker Protections
  • And much, much more

Reno

Sparks Christian Fellowship

Wednesday, May 21st 

 

Speaker: Jason D. Guinasso, Esq., Guinasso Law

Jason is an advocate for employers, insurers and third party administrators. His practice focuses almost exclusively on employment and labor.

 

Topics:

Gender Identity and Expression in the Workplace

  • Nevada Statutes 
  • Other State Statutes and Case Law
  • Federal Statutes and Cases

Gay Marriage

  • Nevada
  • Federally
  • LGBT Employees (protections)
  • Can church refuse to employ person who is gay

Registration information

coming soon!

 

C.S. Lewis Controversy

 

After C.S. Lewis went public with his conversion and commitment to Jesus Christ, controversy hounded him until his death. ...fundamentalists attacked his interpretation of scripture and his ecumenical charity towards most Christian traditions. But neither these issues nor a host of other contentions stirred up anything like the furor that surrounded his marriage to Helen Joy Davidman. In the mind of many of C.S. Lewis's friends it was bad enough that a bachelor nearly sixty years old married a woman of forty...an American divorcee who also happened to be Jewish and the mother of two boys. 


Joy Davidman Gresham was a former atheist who converted to Christianity in the 1940s. She and her first husband, Bill, became deeply interested in Lewis's writings. But the marriage was unraveling, as Bill Gresham was abusive, an alcoholic, and a serial adulterer.

 

Joy eventually visited England to meet Lewis in person. While she was there, Bill wrote to her that he had fallen in love with her cousin Ren´┐Że, and wanted a divorce. Lewis eventually married her,...when he grew to love her.

 

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DISCLAIMER

    This information is provided with the understanding that CMA is not rendering tax, accounting, legal, or other professional advice. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from a qualified CPA, attorney, or other professional.