In his executive order last year, President Trump warned zealous bigots they would no longer be successful in curbing religious institutions of their freedoms. Still, they try anyway. Last week, Pastor Chris Butler, a South Side Chicago pastor, was in court defending his ministry from a discrimination lawsuit that would impose nearly $1 billion per year in new taxes on churches across the country.

In a case called Gaylor v. Mnuchin, an atheist group called Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing the IRS to end the parsonage allowance. It’s a 64-year-old federal tax provision that allows churches, mosques, and synagogues to provide faith leaders a tax-free housing allowance to help them live in the communities they serve. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit must now decide if the law requires the government to discriminate against religious groups by denying them a tax exemption similar to exemptions used by hundreds of thousands of secular employees.

This isn’t the first rodeo for FFRF, which is essentially the equivalent of the schoolyard bully-turned-adult-religious-bigot. In 2016, FFRF sued the IRS, claiming that the parsonage allowance was an illegal establishment of religion and demanded it end. The Becket Fund partnered with Pastor Butler of Chicago Embassy Church and several other religious leaders who rely on the the allowance and intervened. Last year, the district court ruled the parsonage allowance was unconstitutional; Becket appealed to the 7th Circuit and last week argued that the parsonage allowance is fair tax treatment, not a special benefit for faith leaders.

In a statement, Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at Becket said, “The tax code treats ministers the same as hundreds of thousands of non-religious workers who receive tax-exempt housing for their jobs—that’s not special treatment, it’s equal treatment.”

What perhaps FFRF does not realize – or worse, perhaps they do – is that Butler is the leader of a predominantly African-American congregation. He has devoted his life to mentoring at-risk youth, decreasing neighborhood crime, and caring for the homeless in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. The church can’t afford to pay Butler a salary, but it offers him a small housing allowance so he can afford to live near his church and the community he serves. Ending the housing allowance for faith leaders like Butler would harm poor communities by diverting scarce resources away from essential ministries and even forcing some small churches to close.

Not only would FFRF make it harder for people of religious conviction to help the poor and the needy, so the state doesn’t have to, they would attack their own government, which specifically provides that animus toward religion has no place in public discourse. For more than five decades, federal law has recognized that housing allowances like Butler's shouldn’t be taxed as income. This is the same tax principle that allows hundreds of thousands of secular workers including teachers, business leaders, and military service members to receive tax-free housing for their jobs. It also keeps the IRS from becoming entangled in religious matters.

Of course, organizations like FFRF have every right to exist and function in the United States. But much like the Southern Poverty Law Center, FFRF purports to do good, and instead wreaks havoc on society’s most foundational institutions via resource-consuming lawsuits. They did the same thing in Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Trump where they filed a lawsuit in a Wisconsin district court demanding that the IRS enforce pulpit speech restrictions that would essentially threaten a church's tax-exempt status.

There’s enough madness, chaos, and evil in the world to go around for everyone. The last thing that a church or religious organization needs to worry about is being stripped of the tax credits they receive to ensure they are able to care for the poor – and which undoubtedly relieves the state from having to care for them – stripped from them via a lawsuit from an organization whose sole purpose is to antagonize.

Like the schoolyard bully, FFRF should be ignored so pastors can continue to help the people FFRF wouldn’t bother to help themselves.

Nicole Russell (@russell_nm) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is a journalist who previously worked in Republican politics in Minnesota.