After months of waiting on the Lord, the Trinity Springs Baptist Church, in Trinity Springs, Indiana finally got there chance to present their side of the story before the Indiana Tax Board of Appeals in Shoals, Indiana on Tuesday Feb. 11.
When Martin County Assessor, Carolyn Magwire, finally came out from her bureaucratic cocoon in the Assessor’s office, to face a room full of flesh and blood people, especially a group of church people who she was proposing to take away their place of worship, her demeanor changed from the adversarial position that she had displayed over the months prior to the hearing.
Trinity’s Pastor, Martin Jones, gave a clear testimony as to why a church of the Lord Jesus Christ could not file a property tax-exemption form, because it would establish a state church contrary to the Holy Bible, and the guarantees of the Indiana and U.S. Constitution. After this sterling presentation, there was testimony from Greg A. Dixon, Pastor of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple, who explained to the court that their church had also filed the “Letter of Notification” rather than filing property tax-exemption forms for over twenty-five years without any problems, and that there were other churches in the state that were doing the same thing without harassment from their counties.
At that point Ms Magwire, after stumbling and mumbling around for about fifteen minutes admitted that she was confused and then apologized, and gave as her only excuse for sending a tax bill to the church was that according to the Tax Assessors Guide in Indiana all churches were listed as theaters. Apparently she had added “commercial” herself in the Trinity Springs case. At that point, the hearing officer Ron Gudgel, said that that he would discuss the case with the other two Tax Board members and they would render a decision within ninety days.
All who love Christ and Christian liberty should commend Pastor Jones and his congregation for being willing to obey the scriptures when it says, “…having done all, to stand.” Pastor Jones defense was prepared by the Biblical Law Center. If you would like to share in the expense of this important Religious liberty fight you can send a gift of any amount to the BLC by going to the Biblical Law Center Web Site and going to PayPal at Posts or sending a check or MO to P.O. Box 11, Indpls. IN 46206.
For a previous article on the Trinity Springs Case go to Freedom’s Phoenix at Opinions and scroll down to 157 Year Old Church Attacked by Indiana County. http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Editorials-List.htm.