The Fellowship for Human Happiness

1977: New York Attorney General Lous Lefkowitz ruled that "The Fellowship for Human Happiness" could no longer claim to be a church. It was instead, he decided, a house of prostitution masquerading as a church.

Is there actually a rigorous legal test for determining what counts as a religion versus what doesn't? Or do judges (and Attorney Generals) just make determinations based on whether something feels appropriately religious to them? Google, so far, hasn't been able to supply me with an answer.

Tallahassee Democrat - Feb 10, 1977

     Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 04, 2021
     Category: Religion | 1970s

Alex, I believe you will find the answer is that judges just make determinations. The fastest growing religion has been the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster. The documentaty "I, Pastafari" explores the persecution meted out to the Pastafarians. Here's the officially blessed 2-minute trailer:
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 08/04/21 at 10:49 AM
It's actually a documentary.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 08/04/21 at 11:05 AM
Also relevant:
Posted by Paul on 08/04/21 at 11:06 AM
More here – the Gospel of The Flying Spaghetti Monster. How could you criticize a religion that stipulates heaven is a place of stripper factories and beer volcanoes?
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 08/04/21 at 11:06 AM
These guys were no more avaricious that today's crop of televangelists, and at least their flock got some pleasure in return for their mammon.
Posted by ges on 08/04/21 at 02:18 PM
That "church" that was started by Hubbard comes to mind - although there aren't any strippers involved for the top levels.
Posted by KDP on 08/04/21 at 02:53 PM
In the 1960s and 70s, the Children of God cult advocated open sexuality, and supported a practice called “flirty fishing,” whereby female members would seduce and sleep with men to entice them to join the cult. Basically it was just a prostitution ring. The group abandoned the practice in the 1980s with the onset of AIDS. The cult has largely since dissolved.
Posted by Brian on 08/05/21 at 05:13 PM
What convinced the judge is the money involved. Children of God did not ask the men 65$ a pop plus extra for "whatever turns you on". And could we say that God Himself did not want its Children to engage in prostitution and thus sent them AIDS?
Posted by Yudith on 08/06/21 at 05:50 AM
High quality metaphor there, Yudith: $65 for a "pop".
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 08/06/21 at 09:50 AM

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