Lida Hensley - History - 1960s and 1970s USA

1960s and 1970s USA

During the 1960s and 1970s many people in the USA became ministers in the ULC because they believed that being a minister either would help keep them from being drafted into military service during the Vietnam War or would enable them to get income tax relief as members of the clergy. Both of these beliefs have always been false, as merely being ordained does not exempt a person from compulsory military service, and ministers as individuals receive no tax benefit; only churches themselves are tax exempt. Ministers do have the option of applying for exemption from Social Security taxes; however, this may limit eligibility for Social Security benefits. Also, this exemption applies only to ministers whose income comes from religious services and applies only to such income.

The Universal Life Church was referenced by Abbie Hoffman in his 1970 book Steal This Book, which encouraged readers to request an ordination from the ULC, receive notification of the ordination, and then cut out and laminate a card indicating the new minister's ordination. He regarded the ULC as "unquestionably one of the best deals going", but also made the mistake of assuming that a ULC ordination would entitle ordained persons to discounts and tax exemptions.

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