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Ron Paul - the only Congressman to stand up against the IRS By Greg Dixon

Ron Paul - the only Congressman to stand up against the IRS

By Greg Dixon

On February 13, 2001 at 8 am federal marshal’s backed up by approximately 100 Indianapolis city police swept down on the Indianapolis  Baptist  Temple after a 93 day siege. Worshippers had refused to surrender their sanctuary when Federal District Judge Sarah Evans Barker of Indianapolis had ordered the church to be padlocked and turned over to receivers on November 14, 2000 because the church refused to be a collecting and paying agency for the U.S. government for withholding and social security and Medicare taxes on those who ministered in the ministries of the church. The congregations’ position was very simple. If Caesar had taxes coming then he was fully capable of collecting them without any help from the Lord’s church. Tax collection wasn’t in the commission that the Lord Jesus Christ gave to His church at Matthew 28:18-20 or any other place in the scriptures.

To do so would have violated the central tenant of the Baptist  Temple’s doctrinal stance and that was the Lordship of Christ over His blood bought assembly. The church doesn’t belong to Caesar it belongs to Christ. Should the Lord’s church collect taxes to pay for abortions support wars and every other sin known to God and man? God forbid. What individuals do is one thing, what the Lord’s church does is quite another.   

The pastors and congregation appealed to the Indianapolis delegation in Congress including Senators Richard Lugar ( R ) and Evan Bayh (D). They appealed to Congress Dan Burton ( R ), Mike Pence ( R ) and the late Congresswoman Julia Carson (D) and received nothing but rebuffs. The same is true of the rest of the Indiana delegation and the other members of Congress including President William Jefferson Clinton and George W. Bush. Out of the entire Congress there was only one lone Congressman from Texas that dared speak up for us and that was Congressman Ron Paul. He is now asking to speak up for the entire nation from the oval office in the White House in Washington, D.C. On behalf of the pastors and congregation of the Indianapolis  Baptist  Temple I say lets give him that chance, lets vote for the Constitution and real Religious Liberty in America. Vote Ron Paul in 2008.

IRS  Church Seizure is a Tragedy for Religious Liberty

By Ron Paul

Reprinted from "Texas Straight Talk," the weekly column of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, Monday, February 26, 2001

February 13th [2001] marked a sad day for religious liberty in America, as the federal government took the unprecedented step of seizing a church to satisfy an alleged tax debt. Armed federal marshals forcibly removed parishioners and clergy from the Indianapolis Baptist Temple (IBT), bringing a close to years of legal challenges after the Supreme Court refused to hear an IBT appeal.

Amazingly, the tax dispute arose not over a failure to pay income taxes per se, but rather over the failure of the IBT to follow tax withholding rules. The tax code forces all employers, including churches, to act as collection agents for the IRS by presumptively withholding a portion of every employee's paycheck for federal taxes. The IBT steadfastly has refused to withhold taxes from its employees, arguing that religious beliefs prevent it from acting as an agent for a secular government agency. Two important facts have been largely overlooked in the ensuing controversy. First, the IBT (unlike most churches) also refused tax benefits available to it through registration as a tax exempt religious organization. Second, more than 60 present and former IBT employees successfully passed IRS audits, meaning they paid full taxes the IBT had not withheld. So the heart of the dispute really was about IBT's principled refusal to do the government's bidding. The real motivation behind the IRS seizure was not to satisfy a tax bill, but rather to act as an example for any other churches that might dare to question their obligation to act as tax collectors.

The IBT tragedy is about religious liberty, not taxes. Churches should not be required to pay or withhold taxes any more than they should be given tax dollars from the government. The First Amendment grants churches the absolute right to freely exercise their religious beliefs without interference from government. When tax laws force churches to act as collection agents for the IRS, this precious right is lost. The income tax represents the ultimate entanglement between churches and the government. When churches file income tax returns, the government becomes intimately familiar with their activities. Only those faiths deemed valid by IRS bureaucrats are rewarded with partial tax-exempt status. This entanglement chills true religious expression, because churches may alter their message to quell criticism of government and avoid audits. When the government has the power to tax churches, it ultimately has the power to control them.

The state-loving media scarcely mentioned the IBT story, with brief articles predictably portraying the church as a fringe organization that avoided its taxes. This follows an established pattern of characterizing religious conservatives who protest the federal government as dangerous extremists, implicitly associated with militias and racists. Imagine the national media coverage, and resulting public outrage, if a minority church was seized over a refusal to pay taxes. Protestors supporting left-wing causes like abortion, affirmative action, environmentalism, feminism, AIDS, and animal rights consistently are shown as courageous martyrs fighting for principle against an unfeeling society and government. Conservative protestors, however, as shown as sinister bigots who selfishly refuse to follow benign laws and politically correct social needs.

The IBT story has resounded with many Americans, however. A strong undercurrent of dissent has manifested itself below the mainstream media radar on radio talk shows and websites. My office has received hundreds of angry letters, emails, and phone calls denouncing the government's actions. People of all faiths understand that the threat to religious liberty affects all Americans. No society can remain free if it lacks strong institutions to challenge an overreaching government.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Robert in Montana
Entered on:

Dr. Dixon is a man born out of due time ... he could have fit in well with our founders and stands on conviction not convenience and has paid a price for it ... although reading Dr Paul's comments, I couldn't help but clarify what I knew of those heroic days in the late 80's through 2001. The Baptist Temple had no employees. And even if those who served there wanted to claim any benefit they may have recieved as a independent contractor, (like many churches are permitted to due by IRC) the government refused to accept it until Batist Temple filed a piece of paper allowing them to do this (independent contractor status) ... So Bottom Line, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ was evicted from thier property of 50 years, property finally sold a year or so later and most buildings bulldozed down for refusal to get the governments permission to serve God. (oh if they would just bow when the music is played). Ron Paul is calling for Eliminating the IRS and supporting a fair tax. Imagine the oppression of the American people lifted and the unrestrained religious liberty, and free speech, assembly and press. Somebody help me with this box of tea!