If the government wrote a check to every church’s minister, that would be Establishment of Religion, right? Then what about tax breaks for every minister? Code section 107 gives tax breaks for housing to any “minister of the gospel” (expanded in Regs to cover rabbis, imams, etc.). I think that’s the kind of establishment of religion the Founders forbade in the 1st Amendment.
A court agrees. Here are links to that recent court case and how some church groups react.
Here is 107, from http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/107:
26 U.S. Code § 107 – Rental value of parsonages
In the case of a minister of the gospel, gross income does not include—
(1) the rental value of a home furnished to him as part of his compensation; or
(2) the rental allowance paid to him as part of his compensation, to the extent used by him to rent or provide a home and to the extent such allowance does not exceed the fair rental value of the home, including furnishings and appurtenances such as a garage, plus the cost of utilities.