APor 05/23 0329 Masters Lawsuit GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) -- Radio evangelist Roy Mast

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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 "religious organization." "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 worth it. 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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