Thursday, May 29, 2008

Minnesota churches harrassed

In a move that can only be described as guilty until proven innnocent:

"Officials in Ramsey County, Minnesota have sent letters to more than 800 churches and related entities there demanding various documents to justify the tax-exempt status of the ministries" (OneNewsNow).

Congress needs to put a stop to this harrassment of churches. Under the first amendment, churches should be able to preach pretty much whatever they want short of calling for violence or the overthrough of the governement. They should even be able to support Barack Obama without having their tax exempt status challenged! The Fair Tax would put an end to this harrassment.

Where is the ACLU when you need them?


jazzycat said...

Perhaps the Federal Government should look at the Trinity political hate mill church where the beat goes on with that false teacher Father Pfleger. His comedy routine to the cheering Obama "chruch family" would have been funny in a comedy club, but it was disgusting in a pulpit. It dishonered God, Trinity Church, The United Church of Christ denomination, the Catholic church, and without question crossed the line of maintaining tax exempt status.


Brent said...

Dennis, where would you draw the line? Would you be in favor of me being able to form the "Church of Brent" which is a religious organization in name only, existing in reality to promote my candidates and issues of choice? Should I be able to be a tax-exempt organization because of that? Surely you wouldn't want me to do that! :-)

L'oiseau said...

It's so strange, I wonder what the gov. official's reasoning is for doing something like this, if it is so blatantly against the law as that lawyer says. I always wish I could have both sides of an argument in news articles :)

Dennis said...

Jazzycat, I think you've hit the nail on the head. A big part of this problem is that the tax exempt status issue can be selectively enforced based on the whims of government bureaucrats. It can then be used as a weapon to suppress free speech and freedom of religion. Which is exactly what is happening.

Brent, I think you are mixing issues. The issue under discussion has to do with the government selectively taxing established churches (or mosques or synagogues). The issue of whether some organization was just developed to bypass tax laws is another issue altogether.

But I agree that you have a valid point--which is why the Fair Tax is such a great idea!

Brent said...

I'm not mixing the issues, I'm presenting an extreme case to make a point. Organizations must meet a set of standards in order to be tax-exempt. If they want to engage in other behaviors they can go ahead and pay some taxes.

I agree with L'oiseau that it would be nice to hear what the government's representatives say on this issue, but I've come to expect that the "news" linked here will not be "fair and balanced," to borrow a phrase.

Dennis said...


I'm not a journalist. I don't pretend to be. I don't even pretend to be "fair and balanced." I have my opinions and since we still have freedom of speech, I exercise that freedom to comment on various published articles.

The article I commented on said that Ramsey County had sent letters to 800 churches and related entities."

If all 800 of these churches and entities were in the category of "the church of Brent" I would think that OneNewsNow was guilty of sleezy journalism.

It is certainly possible that this is the case, but I am making the assumption that churches means churches.

My assumption is backed up to some degree by the fact that one of these churches is the Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church. You can't get too much more mainline and established that that.

Finally, the county is being challenged by the Alliance Defense Fund and I am assuming that they would not take the case if the case was frivolous involving 800 churches of Brent.

If the county had valid reason to suspect that a church is not really a church, or if a church has become a for-profit organization, etc, then let them make their case.

But for a county to send out some kind of blanket demand to 800 churches to prove why they should not have their tax exempt status revoked is "guilty until proven innocent" and I think that should bother you and l'oiseau as much as it does me.

But once again, I think the best solution to this whole mess is the Fair Tax.

L'oiseau said...

I never said I wasn't upset about it, but I would appreciate all viewpoints on the situation, otherwise, we are working ourselves into a frenzy with possibly no basis. I hate doing that.

Brent said...

Maybe you're right about this case, I don't know. I was responding more to your statements in general that "churches should be able to preach pretty much whatever they want short of calling for violence or the overthrough of the governement." My only point is that there must be some restrictions on what organizations can do to receive such a privelaged status so as to not pay taxes. Otherwise we would all try it!

Dennis said...

Brent and l'oiseau: I agree with both of you. Pretty scary isn't it :-)

L'oiseau said...

I'm not sure what to do with myself! :)