President Bush condemned the "brutal bombing of the Golden Mosque," promising help to rebuild it and asking Iraqis to exercise restraint. "The terrorists in Iraq have again proven that they are enemies of all faiths and of all humanity," he said in a statement. "This senseless crime is an affront to people of faith throughout the world."
Our Founding Fathers wrote about a long train of abuses in the Declaration of Independence. This generation of Americans is way past that long train. The Supreme Court of our land has said that it is against the law for little children to say, "God is great, God is good, and we thank him for this food." This same Court has said that it is all right to rip up the womb and pour the blood of millions of innocent babies down the sewers of our nation.
Thousands of American men and women are dead, wounded, and maimed for life in a war that we were lied into by our President and supported by our Christian leadership that has weakened us militarily abroad and bankrupt us at home.
The name of God cannot be invoked in official places, prayers cannot be invoked in Jesus' name, the Ten Commandments cannot hang on school house walls and soldiers in Iraq are forbidden to give out a gospel tract and yet the blood of Americans and the hard earned taxes of the American people will build a Moslem mosque to propagate a bloodthirsty religion that will teach the hatred of our Christ and His followers and will also teach Holy Jihad (that every non-Muslim on earth is to be destroyed). And yet where is the outrage?
Bush Attorney General Orders Christian Church in U.S. Raided and Bulldozed Down!
After President Bush's representatives were given a legal plan by Attorney Al Cunningham whereby the Indianapolis Baptist Temple property could have been saved, and which the President's liaison agreed was a feasible plan, professed Christian Attorney General John Ashcroft by his own admission moved quickly to seize the property .
In a letter to Mr. Ashcroft dated March 1, 2002, Pastor Greg A. Dixon and I challenged Mr. Ashcroft with the following words:
Dear Mr. Ashcroft:
This letter is to inform you that the congregation of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple is in total shock to learn of the slanderous and false remarks that you made about our congregation in a speech carried live on CNN and Fox News Network on December 5, 2001, in which you connected the Indianapolis Baptist Temple to domestic terrorism. This is especially egregious considering the events of September 11,…
The slanderous and false words that our congregation takes exception to were delivered at the swearing in ceremony for Benigno Reyna, the new Director of the Marshals Service, which was held at the U.S. Marshal Service headquarters at Arlington, Virginia, on that date of December 5. Those words are as follows:
"And I would just add that since I became attorney general, I've had numerous opportunities to witness the truth of your message. For example, when I came on board last winter, the first Department of Justice operation conducted on my watch was for the department to seize the assets of an organization known as the Indiana [sic] Baptist Temple. It was a Marshals Service assignment. The men and women of this agency worked patiently; they worked professionally with other law enforcement officials, with the media, and with church leaders to resolve some very thorny issues, not the least of those issues was the threat of armed militias and violence.
“This organization, you, the Marshals Service, defused a powder keg situation. You accomplished your mission. And in doing so, you earned the gratitude of a nation that knows the value of professionalism and dedication in law enforcement."
These slanderous and untruthful comments are especially unconscionable in the same speech in which you also said preceding these remarks:
"As the Marshals Service director, Ben Reyna will stand with the men and women of the Marshal Service on the front lines of the war against terrorism. Just as our service men and women are risking their lives in the battle against the enemy overseas, it falls to those of us who are here at home in law enforcement to lead in America the battle against the enemy at home. The fight against terrorism and the preservation of innocent lives from terrorist threat is now the first and overriding priority of the Department of Justice. And even though the federal justice system today is more complex than it was when President Washington appointed the first 13 U.S. Marshals, our mission must be equally clear... Now when terrorism threatens our future, we cannot afford to live in the past."
Mr. Ashcroft, we commend you for taking personal responsibility for the raid and seizure on February 13, 2001 of the property belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ that had been given to the Congregation known as the Indianapolis Baptist Temple to hold in trust for Him for the propagation of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our congregation also wonders why you ignored two letters appealing to you to save our church property and school Ministry? Those letters contained over fifty pleas from children and young people who begged you not to close their school. Many were planning on graduating who had never known another school since K5. Why did you ignore the pleas of hundreds across America who wrote you beseeching you to refrain from ordering the raid on the church? Why did you close your ears to the letters that gave you a legal remedy to leave the Indianapolis Baptist Temple alone? And please spare us the hackneyed argument that you had a court order to enforce, or that you were just doing your job, etc. We believe the world heard enough of those clichés at Nuremberg.
Ashcroft Remains Unrepentant
Six years after ordering the raid on the Baptist Temple property, Mr. Ashcroft wrote a book entitled Never Again - Securing America And Restoring Justice (Center Steel, 2007) in which he admits – in fact almost boasts – about ordering the raid on the Baptist Temple in the following words:
"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".
A Brief Review of U.S. v IBT
In his book, Ashcroft admits that the government seizure of the Baptist Temple's properties was "the first incident in U.S. history in which a church was seized by the IRS for tax reasons." And yet even Federal Judge Sarah Evans Barker admitted in her decision of June 10, 1999 that the United States "acknowledges" that the assessed entity on the tax forms, which totaled nearly $6 million, during the taxing period from 1987-1992 was on a defunct corporation with a defunct EIN #35-1037016 with a defunct name of Not-A-Church, Inc. This corporation had no connection to the church since 1986. Her brilliant answer: The poor IRS agents were confused, although we had written them several times, called them on the phone, and also explained to them in face to face meetings the changes the church had made. This means that property that had an MRI appraisal of $6 million was turned over to a receiver and sold for $1.5 million. The judgment still stands even though the evidence shows that those serving in the ministry of the church, over fifty having been audited by the IRS, had paid their own taxes, including the FICA taxes. This means that the government has been paid, and the Baptist Temple congregation has lost their place of worship and Christian school.
When the Baptist Temple operated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit business corporation, we paid all taxes due, including payroll taxes. Congress changed the law in 1984, and churches had to begin paying the Employers share of the FICA tax unless they exempted out. By that time, IBT had begun the process of unincorporating and operating as the Lord's church, which was completed in 1986. As such, we could neither collect the tax nor sign the exemption form. The IRS simply went back to prior employment years and assessed taxes from 1987-1983. Thankfully, we were operating as the Lord's church and not a state church when they moved on us, so we were able to go before the court with clean hands.
The Federal prosecutors admitted that it wasn't a tax case by saying that all IBT had to do was sign the exemption form. But the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee toleration – it guarantees liberty. The exemption process is a licensure process. The State says, recognize us as Lord and we will exempt you from paying the tax that others are duty bound to pay because they are 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations. When IBT, like Mordecai, would not bow, it made old wicked Haman mad, and they came after us. But be assured, they will still hang on Haman's gallows, here or hereafter unless they repent.
The biggest obstacle that IBT has had to overcome is to get other believers to understand that this is not a tax case, and has never been. People keep quoting the scripture, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's." In the first place, as a 14 year old boy said in a Sunday school class that I was teaching one time, "That dude is dead." Brutus killed him over 2,000 years ago, and why we would want to keep resurrecting him, I don't know. Our forefathers' bloody feet at Valley Forge made the First Amendment possible for the church in America to render to her Lord only. And yet most churches have voluntarily put themselves under Caesar's authority through incorporation and 501(c)(3) status.
The issue here is the word "sovereignty." One sovereign cannot tax another. The church belongs to Christ; therefore it is non-taxable. For instance, the State of Indiana does not tax Federal buildings within the state. Neither does the U.S. tax foreign Embassies in our country. These are principles that have been lost to most Americans and Christians today.
But beyond these things is the rank hypocrisy of the Republican Bush Administration talking about Human Rights Violations in other lands and allowing a Christian church to be bulldozed for taxes that are not even owed.
And this sanctimonious Ashcroft who, as an Assembly of God lay preacher, in his book lectured the members of the Baptist Temple and admitted that he used his power as the U.S. Attorney General to enforce his religious beliefs with these words: "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."
Now listen further to the double-tongued Ashcroft as quoted by Attorney David Gibbs, Jr., President of The Christian Law Association, in his book One Nation Under God, when Ashcroft spoke at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. after he had been confirmed as Attorney General. "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'."
Is it not strange that Ashcroft (and Bob Jones, by the way) commends 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 contrast, he upholds America's "tax collectors" for prosecuting Indianapolis Baptist Temple and seizing church properties for 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 for declaring as the early American Patriots did "We have no King but Jesus!"