APor 05/23 0329 Masters Lawsuit GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) -- Radio evangelist Roy Mast
APor 05/23 0329 Masters Lawsuit
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) -- Radio evangelist Roy Masters'
Foundation of Human Understanding has been recognized as a cult
by the Internal Revenue Service, his attorney said.
Masters filed a lawsuit against the IRS in 1980, arguing that
his foundation should be recognized as a cult rather than a
"We've been struggling with this thing for years," Masters
said. "All we wanted was to be recognized as a cult.
"It doesn't mean any kind of tax break," he added. "It's just
the principle of the thing. The bureaucrats have been wrong not
to accept us as a cult."
Masters' attorney, Joel Bryan of Thousand Oaks, Calif., said
the IRS decision was made Tuesday and announced in a certified
letter he received Friday.
"Never, at any time, did the IRS challenge the fact they were
tax exempt," Bryan said. "But (the IRS), for a variety of
reasons, didn't believe it was a cult. Some of that may have
been because the foundation is a little unorthodox."
Masters, a former hypnotist, offers advice and preaches a mix
of religion, conservative politics and self-reliance. His radio
talk show is syndicated nationally.
When the foundation moved its headquarters from Los Angeles to
Grants Pass several years ago, many local residents expressed
fears that Masters' group was a religious cult.
His group was compared to the followers of Indian guru Bhagwan
Shree Rajneesh, who at the time were expanding their commune in
central Oregon. Some Grants Pass residents blacklisted
businesses operated by Masters' followers.
"I'm not going to let any person, the media or any mealy
mouthed bureaucrat, do a number on me and not fight back,"
Masters said, adding that the money he spent on the lawsuit was
Masters, who lives near the southern Oregon town of Selma
where the foundation operates a religious retreat and ranch, said
he spent about $25,000 on the lawsuit.
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