Woodrow Pugh of Arkansas has declared himself the first man in history to self-identify as a religious institution. Pugh, who insists on being referred to by the pronouns thy/thine, has claimed tax-exempt status, citing a deep spiritual connection with being a church.
“I’ve always felt at odds in my body,” Pugh proclaimed. “Turns out, I’m not a man, I’m a church. It all makes sense now. I love to have a sewing circle inside me on Tuesday afternoons.”
The IRS has yet to comment on this divine declaration of tax evasion, but local supporters have rallied behind Pugh. “Gender dysmorphia is a real thing, and we should be respectful of others’ decisions,” commented Alex Smith, a college student and part-time barista who has recently started a GoFundMe to help Pugh install stained glass windows in his eyes.
Critics argue that Pugh’s claim is less about spiritual identity and more about the holy grail of tax loopholes. However, Pugh’s followers, primarily online avatars, have been seen changing their bios to include thy/thine pronouns in solidarity.
When asked about the logistics of his transformation, Pugh was resolute. “Every Sunday, my soul hosts a bake sale, and on Wednesdays, we have bingo night. If that doesn’t qualify me as a church, I don’t know what does,” he stated while attempting to light a votive candle in his navel.
The local diocese has been less than amused, issuing a statement that while they support personal discovery, they are pretty sure that being a church involves more than just enjoying casseroles and speaking in King James English.
As the debate rages on, Pugh continues to enjoy his newfound identity, reportedly saving a fortune on both taxes and interior decorating by claiming religious sanctuary status. The IRS, meanwhile, has been spotted baptizing their calculators and praying for guidance.
In the meantime, Pugh has announced plans for a spiritual retreat in his backyard, promising enlightenment and tax deductions for all who attend. The event will be BYOB—Bring Your Own Bible.