Secularism is growing obstacle for Church

by | Feb. 15, 2010

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An attorney for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints predicts secularism will be one of the most significant obstacles facing the LDS Church over the coming decade.

William F. Atkin, associate general counsel for the LDS Church, made the prognostication Saturday during an address at the 2010 J. Reuben Clark Law Society Conference on the University of Utah campus.

"When governments become neutral towards religion, we see less and less protection of religion and religious activities," he said. "Secularism in the world is neutral at best towards religions and hostile at worst. We're seeing more and more that it is hostile, not just neutral, towards religion."

In the United States, secularism could result in changing how the tax code treats nonprofit religious organizations.

"We think there's going to be a tightening now of what kind of entities get tax-exempt status," Atkin said. "Maybe churches are no longer going to be viewed as such a positive influence in society — therefore (maybe) they're not going to be granted tax-exempt status."

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