House passes bill to allow tithing during bankruptcy

Faith and finances

The Salt Lake Tribune/December 7, 2006
By Thomas Burr

Washington - Congress has passed legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, that would allow a person to contribute to charity or pay religious tithing during the course of a consumer bankruptcy. The bill, also sponsored by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., passed the House on Wednesday; the Senate approved the measure in September. "Congress has a long history of protecting our religious freedom to tithe," Hatch said in a statement. "That was our intent when we enacted bankruptcy reform last year, and this bill clarifies the law so that those who tithe can continue to live their faith while in bankruptcy." A ruling by a New York bankruptcy court earlier this year prompted the legislation. The judge ordered that an upper-income couple filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy could not pay tithing to a church until all creditors were paid first. The Hatch-Obama bill clarifies that Congress did not intend to prohibit religious tithing or charitable contributions when it passed the reform measure last year. "For millions of Americans, charitable giving and tithing is an essential part of their lives," Obama said in a statement. "And in a country where 37 million citizens live in poverty, we should be encouraging charitable giving, not limiting it." President Bush is expected to sign the legislation

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