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Court of Appeals Considers Neo-Pagan Tax Exemption Case

By Robert Gavin

An attorney representing Catskill [N.Y.] asked the state’s highest court Tuesday to deny tax-exempt status for a small neo-pagan religious group operating on a three-acre property in Palenville.

The Cybeline Revival, a pagan faith that worships the mother goddess Cybele, has received tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service but was rejected by town officials when it sought property tax exemptions rejections in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The not-for-profit organization, known as Maetreum of Cybele, Magna Mater Inc., challenged its denial before acting state Supreme Court Justice Richard Platkin, who sided with the town in 2012 following a trial. The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court reversed the decision, finding the property should be tax-exempt under religious use, which sent the case before the Court of Appeals.

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