On January 20, 1993, William Jefferson Clinton was sworn in as the 42nd President of the United States. On February 28, his Attorney General, Janet Reno, personally ordered Federal Agents to begin what would be a 51 day siege of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, ending in the fiery deaths of 86 members of this Seventh Day sect, including many women and children.
On January 20, 2001, George Walker Bush was sworn in as the 43rd President of the United States. On February 13, his Attorney General, John Ashcroft, personally ordered the raid on the Indianapolis Baptist Temple in Indianapolis, Indiana that resulted in worshipers being hauled out of a prayer meeting, the buildings padlocked and eventually sold, and the sanctuary bulldozed to make room for a Charter School where a Christian School once stood with several hundred enrolled.
It should be noted that both men put their hand on the Holy Bible as they took the oath to uphold the Constitution of the U.S., which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” And yet Mr. Ashcroft has admitted that destroying a Christian church was his first act after he took office.
Mr. Ashcroft devoted six pages of his recent book Never Again to the Baptist Temple events. The following article written by Pastor Robert McCurry of Sharpsburg, Georgia, sets the record straight.
Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft Maligns
Indianapolis Baptist Temple in New Book
By Robert McCurry
Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has written a book entitled Never Again- Securing America And Restoring Justice (Center Steel, 2007). He devotes seven pages of his book to what he describes as “a sixteen-year dispute between the Indianapolis Temple and the Internal Revenue Service.” Since he, as U.S. Attorney General, knew the truth about this “dispute,” it is amazing to see that his remarks are marred by a number of deliberate egregious untruths and distorted personal representations that are apparently intended to malign the Indianapolis Baptist Temple. (ibid pp 93-100)
Here is a list of these egregious untruths and distortions:
One, Ashcroft accuses Indianapolis Baptist Temple of “tax evasion.” This is untrue. The Internal Revenue service never accused Indianapolis Baptist Temple of “tax evasion.” Where is Ashcroft’s evidence of such a charge?
Two, Ashcroft correctly states: “The church . . . stopped withholding federal income tax, Social Security, and Medicare taxes from the paychecks of its employees . . . . The employees paid their own taxes on the money they received from the church.” This was the crux of the controversy. The IRS alleged the church failed to collect and remit these referenced taxes, but Ashcroft acknowledges that these referenced taxes were paid by those who “received money from the church.”
Three, Ashcroft states: “The church itself continued to accrue back taxes, penalties, and interest . . .” This is untrue. Indianapolis Baptist Temple was nontaxable and had no tax liabilities in any amount.
Four, “The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where the justices rendered a decision against the church.” This is untrue. Although the church appealed its case to the U.S. Supreme Court, the court declined to hear the case and never “rendered a decision against the church.”
Ashcroft continues his assault on Indianapolis Baptist Temple by implying:
One, Ashcroft said, “No one knew if the senior Dixon was armed or if he intended to harm himself or others.” This is a ludicrous statement designed to malign the character and integrity of Dr. Greg Dixon. The same statement can be made of President George Bush or any other leader. But why make such a statement when there was no evidence or even suspicions of such a probability? The answer is obvious.
Two, Ashcroft implies that Indianapolis Baptist Temple was similar or akin to the Branch Davidians who were accused of hoarding weapons, World Trade Center Terrorists, Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh, and the militia movement at large in America. The answer is obvious.
Three, Ashcroft implies that Indianapolis Baptist Temple was not a people of peace and had no respect for authorities; protested and acted with violence to further their religious views; was similar to those who bomb abortion clinics. Why make such comparisons and raise such suspicions when there is no evidence to substantiate these things? The answer is obvious.
Some astounding and alarming statements made by Ashcroft:
One, Ashcroft admits that the government seizure of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple’s properties was “the first incident in U.S. history in which a church was seized by the IRS for tax reasons.”
Two, Ashcroft admits that he sacrificed the congregation of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple to prove that he was sincere at his Senate confirmation hearings. “For all the fuss during my confirmation hearings by the ACLU and other liberal groups fretting whether or not I would uphold the law in cases that touched on matters of faith, hardly a word was reported when the Christian attorney general enforced the law in the church tax evasion case.”
Three, Ashcroft, a professing Christian and an Assembly of God lay preacher, admits that he used his power as the U.S. Attorney General to enforce his religious beliefs. “I was deeply concerned over the standoff. Yet on the other hand, Christians obey the law and ‘render to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar.’ In other words, pay your taxes! The Indianapolis Baptist Temple defied that scriptural injunction as well as the law of the land. And I was sworn to uphold that law.”
Four, Ashcroft is double-tongued as illustrated by the following: “He complicated his already controversial appointment as Attorney General of the United States, when he spoke at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. In this speech, Attorney John Ashcroft told the students the historical facts ‘that America’s greatness stems from the triumph of ‘eternal authority’ over ‘civic authority’ [and] said the United States was founded by spiritual patriots who bucked the king of England’s tax collectors by saying, ‘We have no king but Jesus’”. (One Nation Under God, Dr. David C. Gibbs, Jr. President Christian Law Association With Jerry Newcombe, Christian Law Association, 2003-06, p 317).
Interestingly, Ashcroft applauds the “spiritual patriots who bucked the king of England’s tax collectors” for objecting to individual taxation and even commends them for proclaiming, “We have no king but Jesus.” But in contradistinction, he applauds America’s “tax collectors” for prosecuting Indianapolis Baptist Temple and seizing church properties for alleged taxes it did not owe. He further condemns Indianapolis Baptist Temple for its stand and proclamation that Jesus Christ is the sole Lord and Head of His Church and “We have no King but Jesus!”
Five, Ashcroft admits that it was his decision to seize the church. “The night before we planned to make a move on the church, we received word from the White House: they wanted to send a representative to negotiate with the church leaders. I thought that was a bad idea and told the White House so . . . I was finally able to convince the White House . . . Late that night, the White House dropped their objections to our recommendation, and our plan proceeded. ‘If you want to do this, the burden of responsibility is on you,’ they said. . . . I gave the order to go ahead at dawn the next morning. Fully armed U.S. marshals stormed the church, executing the plan perfectly”.
Six, in essence Ashcroft says that Indianapolis Baptist Temple is unlike Christ and he slanders pastors, churches, and Christians in general who believe that Jesus Christ is the sole Lord and Head of His Church.
It will be wise for every pastor and church in America to remember: What civil government can do to one pastor and church in America it can -- and eventually will -- do to every pastor and church in America!
Wake up, preachers! Wake up, Christians! Wake up, America!
Robert McCurry is the former pastor of the Heritage Baptist Church of Sharpsburg, Georgia and is the Editor of the outstanding newsletter entitled The Wake Up Herald. Pastor McCurry may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org