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THE TRUMPET

Vol. XXIII - Issue I Jan/Mar 2016

 

News of Interest

IBT Building 

Bro. Mario Cruz is the new pastor of the Good Shepherd Baptist Church.  His Father in law Pedro Ramirez died recently of a heart attack at fifty years old.  Mario has taken his place.   Pastor Greg A. Dixon took part in his installation service.

 

UBF Meeting February 22-23.

Midwinter UBF Meeting

Unregistered Baptist Fellowship
February 22-23, 2016

Victory Baptist Church

500 SW 9th St.

Okeechobee, Florida 34974

Johnny Jarriel, Host Pastor

 UBF Meeting

Pastors at UBF meeting  Victory Baptist Church in Paducah Oct. 19-21, 2015

Feb. 15th Marks 15th Anniversary of IBT Raid

History of Tax Exemption in America

WHAT'S INSIDE

Victorious church or faithful church – Baldwin answer

To God be the Glory – Personal blessings

Pastor Greg A. Dixon’s November Trip to Mexico

Mid-Winter UBF Meeting Feb. 22-23 Okeechobee, FL

Graham agrees, Muslims should be banned

ITEMS OF NOTE

Booklets by Dr. Greg Dixon

The Trumpet Archives

Biblical Law Center
Helping Churches
Since 1984

To organize or reorganize churches
To leave the IRS 501 (c ) (3) tax exempt
Scheme and become non-taxable
New Testament Churches
In the area of church polity
For information go to
http://biblicallawcenter.com/what-to-do

Marriage Covenant
Or
Marriage License

Get your all in one Marriage Packet
It includes a booklet explaining the Covenant from a Biblical viewpoint, an actual Marriage Covenant, and a church birth certificate along with some other documents. All of this for a suggested gift of $12 which includes postage and handling. It will be sent by return mail.

Mail your gift by check or M.O. to Temple Books
P.O. Box II
Indianapolis, IN 46206

Joey Faust Loses His Case on Appeal

 

Texas Court Rules Police May Form Human Barricades to Block Opposition to ‘Gay’ Pride Events

FORT WORTH, Texas — The highest criminal court in Texas hasFirst Amendment ruled that it is permissible for police to form human barricades to physically block dissenters from engaging with attendees of “gay pride” events in situations where there is a possibility that the hearers might become violent.

On Wednesday, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reinstated the conviction of Pastor Joey Faust and a member of his congregation who had been previously found not guilty of “interfering with public duties” for crossing a barricade that was meant to separate them from attendees of a homosexual festival in Fort Worth.  Bro. Faust said that he and the members of his church did not say the things the police said that they were reported to have said.  To read the entire report go to the following link:

“We agree with the sentiment expressed by the trial court judge — that [the men] literally crossed the line, from engaging in purportedly protected speech to physically interfering with a lawful police order,” a divided court ruled.

As previously reported, Joey Faust and other members of Kingdom Baptist Church in Venus, Texas, were physically blocked by police in October 2012 while attempting to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with attendees of the Fort Worth “Ride the Rainbow” pride parade.

Faust states that as he and others were preaching and distributing tracts to those in the parade, suddenly, the police formed a human blockade across the public walkway.

“The police lined up [across the street] and said, ‘You can go no further,” he told Christian News Network. “We were forbidden to cross the street and they wouldn’t tell us if we were being detained.”

Faust said that as he stood for some time watching others being allowed to pass by the human blockade, except for anyone that was present to witness to attendees, it became obvious that the police had an agenda.

“Christians who were in support of homosexuals were allowed to cross the street,” he stated. “A Christian walked by me right in front of the officers, and said, ‘I’m here with my family and some of them are homosexuals.’”

Faust then asked police why they were specifically restricting those that oppose homosexuality.

“I asked, ‘Why are they allowed to pass?’” he said. “They were just quiet.”

“At that point, I took a step and attempted to cross,” Faust outlined. “Once I stepped into the street, [the officer] put my hands behind my back.”

Faust and a second member of his congregation, Ramon Marroquin, were then charged with “interfering with public duties,” a class B misdemeanor. He was jailed for 20 hours and held on $1,500 bail.

In May 2013, a judge found both Faust and Marroquin guilty of the charge and sentenced them to two days jail time and a $250 fine, plus court costs. Since the men had already spent time in jail following their arrest, the sentence was pronounced as time served.

Faust and Marroquin then appealed the sentence, and last June, the Second District of Texas Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s ruling, finding the men not guilty and concluding that their First Amendment rights had been violated.

“The skirmish line prohibited all members of the church from exercising their right of free speech merely because of their association with the church,” the court concluded. “This is far too broad a limitation.”Joey-Faust

But the ruling was again appealed and on Wednesday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that police acted lawfully in forming a human barricade as it opined that the officers were promoting safety rather than interfering with religious speech. It pointed to claims from police officers that Faust and Marroquin’s group had used abusive and inflammatory speech in the past that incited attendees to anger.

“Although it was a governmental restriction on protected speech, the skirmish line was reasonable because it was justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech, it was narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and it left open ample alternative channels for communication of appellants’ views,” the court concluded.

Two judges dissented, including presiding judge Sharon Keller, who opined that “[t]he fixed skirmish line … burdened more speech than necessary to achieve the interest of preventing violence.”

“The only specific statements recited in the record as being made by either Faust or Marroquin at the parade before the imposition of the skirmish line that were inflammatory with respect to members of the parade were signs that suggested that homosexuals would go to Hell or burn in Hell,” she wrote. “But religions and religious groups often make claims about Hell and what may cause someone to end up there. These signs communicated a religious viewpoint, and do not themselves convey fighting words.”

Links to the case:

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/tx-court-of-criminal-appeals/1720406.html



http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/pastors-conviction-reinstated-in-gay-pride-parade-/npf5n/



http://christiannews.net/2015/12/10/texas-court-rules-police-may-form-human-barricades-to-block-opposition-to-gay-pride-events/



http://texags.com/forums/16/topics/2700689

 https://www.rutherford.org/files_images/general/06-13-2014_Faust_Decision.pdf

(End)

 

 

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Feds to retry Kent Hovind

Kent Hovind gives us important legal update after discussions with public defender concerning a new trial for him and John Paul Hansen.

Prosecutors are looking to retry Kent and Paul over hung jury decisions:



Now is the time to get more passionate about spreading the Good word of the Lord.

I will upload video on new tactics we can use going forward.

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IRS - Now All Churches Are Under Their Control

 

IRS Section 1828

Every few days, we receive phone calls or e mails here at the Biblical Law Center that say, "Our church is not a 501 (c)(3) organization."  When I ask them why do they say that, they usually answer, "Because we are not incorporated, or we have never filed with the IRS, etc."  Others might say that they are a house church, or that they don't have an EIN number, or that they operate strictly with cash, or that they pay no salaries.  Others might say that their church has been working with someone that has sold them a package deal over the internet and their church is operating as some kind of a trust or corporation sole.  Usually they have paid a pretty handsome sum for these schemes.

Then there are those that rattle off various, so called patriot or constitutional jargonese, that some "constitutional" guru has convinced them will either work for them or has worked for others – which many times they have also paid a good deal for.  What the "expert" hasn't told them is that often if they check further they will find that someone who has used that particular scheme is doing more perfecting of that particular plan in jail or has been there.

For some reason there is wide spread confusion over Section 501(c) (3) of Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) pertaining to churches and religious organizations. Even though we have written other articles on this subject, they have not received much traction, so here we go again, making one more effort to "put the cookies on the lower shelf", as one of our professors in Bible College used to say, so no one will need to have an advanced law degree to understand, which believe me, I certainly don't have. If I can decipher this maze of confusion, anyone can. Paul feared for the churches when he wrote to the church at Corinth, But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Cor 11:3)

To simplify the subject, the IRS has condensed everything into a Publication called IRS Publication 1828 – Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations.  The subtitle is: (benefits and responsibilities under the federal tax law).  It also declares, on the cover that this is the division of: "Tax Exempt and Government Entities."

Now if this isn't enough to warn any self-respecting pastor, let alone a God fearing one, that has to stand before the Lord Jesus Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ and give an account of his ministry, I don't know what would cause alarm bells to go off.  But somehow like the Three Little Pigs who were not afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, the preachers seem to buy in to the slogan, "We are from the government and we are here to help you."  I still remember a leader of the Baptist Bible Fellowship International who stood before the leadership in Atlanta on December 16, 1988 and said, "The IRS is our friend."  Just a casual glimpse into the present Congressional hearings on the IRS attack on the tax-exempt, conservative organizations should be sufficient enough to settle the matter once and for all as to the character of the IRS and especially the Non-Profit Division.   Whatever possessed our preacher forefathers to put our churches under this wicked governmental agency would have to be Satan himself. Surely the apostasy was already strong and they were deceived into thinking that this was a "Christian nation", therefore they were somehow just doing their Christian duty.  How sad.  Surely they were "deceived and being deceived," even then.

Did they not substitute the Lordship of Christ over His church for the headship of the Director of the Internal Revenue Service, and more specific, the head of the Tax-Exempt Organizations?  Now the first thing the booklet deals with is jurisdiction with the following statement:

"Congress has enacted special tax laws applicable to churches, religious organizations and ministers, in recognition of their unique status in American society and their rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States."

There are several things wrong with this statement.  First it is a violation of the Religious Amendment Clauses of the First Amendment that says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…"  Therefore Congress is prohibited from passing any legislation pertaining to religion to begin with.  Next, the Lord's churches are not tax-exempt, which is a benefit, which the church must qualify to receive.  A New Testament church is not tax-exempt, nor tax immune, it is simply non-taxable.  Third, a N.T. church is under the Lordship of Christ, not under the headship of Congress or the IRS, which they would be if Congress makes laws for them to comply with.  And the fourth thing, the Word of God is their only rule of faith and practice, not Title 26 of the IRC which is subject to change.  Fifth, it creates an agency relationship.  There is an old saying, "Come shekels, come shackles."  Note the statement, "This publication explains the benefits and the responsibilities under the federal tax system for churches and religious organizations."  The Lord Jesus said, No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  The sixth point that you will note is that the same preachers that cry out against ecumenicity have aligned themselves into a huge financial/religious monolith that controls practically all religion in America of every stripe and color and requires it to be a tax collector and payer to the federal beast to support everything from child killing to homosexuality, pornography, euthanasia, sex-ed, foreign wars and every other evil that man can conceive. In fact for a church of moderate size, according to StartChurch, Inc., an organization that advises churches on IRS rules and regs., it would take some one nearly full time to satisfy all of the bookkeeping needs required at this time by the IRS. 

The Purpose of the Tax-Exempt Church

"Churches and religious organizations, like many other charitable organizations, qualify for exemption from federal income tax under IRC section 501(c)(3) and are generally eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.

To qualify for tax-exempt status, such an organization must meet the following requirements (covered in greater detail throughout this publication):

* the organization must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific, or other charitable purposes,

* net earnings may not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder,

* no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation,

* the organization may not intervene in political campaigns, and

* the organization's purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy."

Listed above are the five basic prohibitions of the tax-exempt churches that are under the control of the IRS.  Now the pastor in his own capacity may have free speech rights, but the church loses its First Amendment freedom of religion guarantees and has been neutered as any meaningful voice in society.  The pastor has no more authority than the janitor or nursery worker, because they have the same free speech rights that he has, but he has lost his right to speak with the authority of God as the pastor of the church.  This is the power that the Lord Jesus gave the church when He said, "Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matthew 18:18

 The Devil is smart, he understands authority, and so does governmental powers, but the average preacher, believing in the universal church (body of Christ) position, thinks that he has authority or autonomy outside of the local church. Therefore this doesn't bother him that the freedom of religion clause has been destroyed by previous court cases, and he thinks that as long as his speech rights are preserved that he has religious liberty; but he is sadly mistaken along with the law firms that are defending them.    

However the last one is the most egregious of all in my opinion.  For filthy lucre, the church agrees to obey all laws present and future including "fundamental public policy."

How can any self-respecting church and pastor agree to do nothing "illegal", in other words, obey all laws, local, county, state and federal.  In the first place, who knows what all of them are or what they will be in the future?  The church to the best of its ability is to obey the laws of God.  That was settled two thousand years ago.  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29).  But then to add insult to injury by declaring that the church will propagandize for the state for its benefits, i.e. tax exemption and tax deductible gifts is beyond the pale.  Heaven would have to blush if angels are not weeping to think that the church that Jesus bled and died for has prostituted itself for filthy lucre and has sold its birth right for a "mess of pottage."  It has to either espouse or remain silent on every issue that the church opposes.  Socialism, communism, abortion, homosexuality, planned parenthood, no win wars, Obamacare, and all of this is but the tip of the iceberg.

But in reality it cannot be the church that the Lord Jesus founded while on earth that is described in Publication 1828.  The reason is, in order to receive these benefits and to take on these responsibilities the organization that is being discussed here are four distinct legal State entities which are not found in the New Testament.  They are as follows:

"Churches and religious organizations may be legally organized in a variety of ways under state law, such as unincorporated associations, nonprofit corporations, corporations sole, and charitable trusts."

Now whoever you are that is reading this article.  Which one of these describes your church?  The purpose of the First Amendment was so a church did not have to be one of the above legal entities.  Either Congress or a state legislature would have to pass a law to create a legal entity, which then would be a creature of the state which created it.  The "corporation sole" is the Catholic model, where all property is held by the Bishop in a diocese.  The "unincorporated association" is a church that is not incorporated.  All of these legal entities are considered automatically to be tax-exempt under 508(c) of the IRC whether they file a 1023 exemption form or not. And their members can receive tax deductions for their gifts, even if there is no membership in their church.  This is the great deception.

The Biblical Law Center uses a time honored method which we discuss privately with those who call us to free the church from this entanglement so that it no longer operates as this legal entity. However, it is like conversion and discipleship. The gate is strait and the way is narrow and not too many are interested in this narrow but blessed walk. However those that we have assisted, which number into the scores, will testify that it is a blessed path that they are walking. And these churches are functioning most successfully using our suggestions. 

If any are interested, go to our web site at http://biblicallawcenter.com/ .

UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT OUTLAWS THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH IN AMERICA, REFUSES TO HEAR BAPTIST TEMPLE CASE 
By Dr. Greg Dixon

January 16, 2001 no doubt will remain forever in the annals of church history as the day that religious liberty died in the United States of America. On that day the entire nine justices of the United States met to determine whether to hear the case of U.S. v. Indianapolis Baptist Temple. It was unanimous, they refused to hear it, which means that the decision of the three judge panel on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago against the church will stand. Technically it is not the law of the land but only in the Seventh Circuit. However from a practical standpoint the U.S. Government is already using the Baptist Temple case against other churches through out the nation. One of the first instances is in a United States Motion To Compel which was filed in The U.S. District Court, Indianapolis Division on April 10. This action by the U.S. Government is to get Judge Sarah Evans Barker to compel Pastor Greg A. Dixon and Colleen Tiffany, church secretary to reveal the names and current phone numbers and addresses of those who serve in the financial ministry of the Baptist Temple.

On the same day the Justices refused to hear the Baptist Temple case they agreed to hear the case of a disabled golfer under the Disability Act who wants to ride a golf cart in the Professional Golf Association tournaments. This is certainly strange when you realize that the PGA didn't even exist at the time the U.S. Constitution was ratified. Pastor Jim Grove from Carlisle, Pennsylvania said that the Supreme Court rode Almighty God out of Washington, D.C. on a golf cart. Also on that same day the Court heard a case where an illegal alien was suing the State of Alabama. It would be interesting to hear the Court explain how an illegal alien with no rights in the U.S. has precedent over the Lord's church. 

Following are excerpts of the Baptist Temple's arguments before the highest court in the land as the Lord allowed us to be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. Our congregation counts it all joy that we have been chosen by divine grace, in the words of our blessed Savior the Lord Jesus Christ to be "...brought before rulers...for my sake, for a testimony against them" (Mark 13:9). Through this case we have been able to witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ before the highest Jurists of the nation and untold thousands will read this testmony concerning the Lordship Of Jesus Christ.

Another point of interest: on the same day, Nov. 14 that Judge Sarah Evans Barker ordered the property of the church to be seized she also ruled that all monuments bearing the Ten Commandments be rooted up from all court house lawns in the State of Indiana. By the highest court in the land refusing to hear our case they have said in essence, not only are the Ten Commandments not allowed in public places but neither are they to be displayed in the house of the Lord.

A few minor changes have been made in the original brief for the purpose of clarity and brevity. The entire Writ Of Certiorari can be ordered through The Trumpet for a gift of $15. It also contains Judge Barkers ruling and the ruling of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal.

In The
Supreme Court of the United States
Indianapolis Baptist Temple, Petitioner,
v.
United States Of America, Respondent
On Petition For Writ Of Certiorari
To The United States Court Of Appeals

For The Seventh Circuit

Questions Presented For Review

Petitioner, Indianapolis Baptist Temple (IBT), is a New Testament Baptist Church founded solely by authority of the scriptures of the Holy Bible (1611 King James Version) and is in the succession of New Testament Churches (N.T.), from the time the N.T. Churches were founded by Jesus Christ as recorded by the scriptures of the Holy Bible to the present day. The church polity of the Baptist Temple is that of a special assembly of saved, baptized people as a visible body of Jesus Christ in Indianapolis, Indiana. The absolute sovereignty of the New Testament Church under the lordship of Jesus Christ as the sovereign head of the Church is the central tenant of the faith and practices of the Church. The Church polity does not permit IBT to organize or structure the church government as a not-for-profit organization (i.e., corporation, unincorporated association or a trust) or any other legal entity. IBT does not claim tax-exempt benefits under section 501(c)(3) as a tax-exempt religious organization.

The United States of America assessed employer taxes to IBT as an uincorporated association. IBT did not comply with the employer tax regulations because to do so would violate the central tenet of the faith of the church by recognizing a sovereign greater than Jesus Christ as an authority with power to regulate the polity and practices of IBT.

The lower courts made a distinction between the religious nature of the Church from the legal nature of the Church. The lower courts imputed to IBT a legal entity called an unincorporated association (i.e., religious society) as the legal nature of the church, which is contrary to the faith, practices, and polity of IBT. 

Question 1. Does the application of the employer tax statutes and regulations to IBT which is a N.T. Church and not organized as a legal entity under State law and does not claim tax benefits as a tax-exempt religious organization or public charity under Sec. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, violate the free Exercise Clause or the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution when compliance with those statutes violates the faith and practices of the N.T. Church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ as the Head of His Church?

Question 2. Have the lower Courts established a State Church in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by making a distinction between the religious nature of the Church and the legal nature of the Church, and imputing to IBT a legal entity as the legal nature for the Church when such a legal nature is contrary to the faith and practices and polity of the Church.

Question 3. Does the repudiation of the Church polity of IBT as a N.T. Church by the lower Courts and the imputation to the Church of a legal nature contrary to the faith and practice of the Church violate the Ninth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?

Petition For Writ Of Certiorari

Petitioner, Indianapolis Baptist Temple, by its Pastor and Trustee, Gregory A. Dixon, respectfully prays that a Writ of Certiorari be issued from this Honorable Court to review the judgment and opinion of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit entered in this proceeding on August 14, 2000, in order to review an important question of federal law that has not been, but should be, settled by this Court, or that has been decided in a way that conflicts with relevant decisions of this Court.

Constitutional Provisions

This case involves the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Ninth Amendment of the Constitution.

The First Amendment provides in part: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"...The Ninth Amendment provides: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Statement Of The Case

The U.S. instituted this action under Sec. 7401 and 7403 of the Internal Revenue Code (Title 26) (IRC) by filing a complaint in the U.S. District Court, Indianapolis, Indiana, seeking to reduce federal employer tax assessments that the IRS had assessed against IBT as an unincorporated association for the tax years 1987-'93 to judgment and to forclose tax liens against real properties in possession of the Church. 

In 1987, IBT was functioning as a "New Testament Church," founded and organized under the sole authority of the scriptures of the Holy Bible. IBT was founded in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1950 as a N.T. Church as the next in line of a succession of Baptist Churches that trace the lineage of the Baptist Churches by Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry through the Apostle John and an ancient N.T. Church founded by Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle John in 150 A.D.

The Church polity of IBT is that "local, visible Church" model taught by the scriptures of the Holy Bible to be a special assembly of saved, baptized people called out and placed into the assembly by the Holy Spirit as a visible body of Jesus Christ in Indianapolis. The absolute sovereignty of the N.T. Church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ as the sovereign head of the Church is the central tenet of the faith and practices of IBT.

The Church polity does not permit the IBT to organize or structure the Church government as a not-for-profit organization (i.e., corporation, unincorporated association or a trust) or any other entity. As a N.T. Church, IBT existed as a separate and distinct body authenticated by the scriptures of the Holy Bible as the local, visible body of Jesus Christ, and did not claim tax-exempt benefits under Sec. 501(c)(3) as a tax-exempt religious organization or public charity in 1987 or at any time thereafter.

The IRS assessed employee taxes to IBT as an unincorporated association. An unincorporated association is a legal entity formed under State law and cannot be a N.T. Church founded under the scriptures of the Holy Bible. IBT did not pay the taxes assessed because IBT was not an unincorporated association and, as a N.T. Church could not be an unincorporated association. If IBT were to form an unincorporated association (or any other legal entity) for the government of the Church, or pay the tax, IBT would violate the central tenet of the faith of the Church by recognizing a sovereign greater than Jesus Christ as an authority with power to regulate the polity and practices of the Church.

The federal government conceded in this case, that IBT's religious convictions were sincerely held and that the federal tax scheme conflicts with IBT's religious doctrine. 

The District Court denied IBT's motion for summary judgment and granted the federal government's motion for summary judgment on Nov. 12, 1999. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decisions of the District Court on August 14, 2000. 

Both the District Court and the Court of Appeals rejected Constitutional protection for: (1) IBT as a N.T. Church; (2) the religious convictions of the Church concerning its polity as that of a "local, visible Church"...(3) its religious convictions and faith in the Holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ as the sovereign head of the Church. In doing so, the lower Courts distinguished between the legal nature of the Church and the religious nature of the church by imputing to IBT the legal entity of an unincorporated association as the legal nature of IBT.

In denying IBT's motion for summary judgment, the District Court said: "IBT even suggests that it is neither a corporation nor an unincorporated religious society, Rather, it is a New Testament Church and nothing more. This position fails to recognize the legal nature of IBT, which the record established to be that of an unincorporated religious society."

The Court of Appeals said: "...IBT takes issue with the District Court's characterization of it as an unincorporated religious society under Indiana Law. IBT contends that it is a "New Testament Church," and not an unincorporated religious society, and that by characterizing it as such an entity, the District Court "established" a state church and imposed on IBT a form of worship contrary to its beliefs. The District Court did neither of these things. It simply described the legal (not religious) nature of an already established church."

Reasons For Granting The Writ

1. The Seventh Circuit's opinion has decided an important question of federal law involving First Amendment protections of the Church, its polity, faith and practices from governmental regulation, interference and control that has not been, but should be, settled by the Supreme Court of the United States.

This case is not a tax case. It is a religious liberty issue that goes back to the foundationl purpose for which the Religious Liberty Clauses of the First Amendment were established. It involves the right of the N.T. Church to exist in America today.

The issue presented has never been presented to the Supreme Court before. There has never been a need for this Court to consider this issue before, because the federal government has never attempted to regulate the polity of a N.T. Church or its ministries before. By its opinion, the Seventh Circuit has in effect criminalized not only the faith and practices of IBT, but also the faith and practices of every N.T. Church in the U.S. The decision exposes all N.T. Churches in the U.S. to criminal and civil sanctions for the exercise of their faith in the Lordship of Jesus Christ as the sovereign head of His Church.

By targeting a N.T. Church, the government has actually targeted God. God is the issue. God is either the Head of His Church or He is not. The Seventh Circuit says He is not by distinguishing between the "legal nature" of the Church and the "religious nature of the Church." By making this distinction, The Seventh Circuit has taken God out of the N.T. Church and put its members in a position where they, as a special assembly (i.e., Church), have to choose whether or not to violate the First Commandment of the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt have none other gods before me." (Deuteronomy 5:7). 

There are only three primary models for Christian Churches that exist in the world today. Each model arose at different times in history, and each has its own polity, faith, and practices. 

The first originated in the First Century, A.D. as recorded in the Holy Bible. The Church polity is that of a "N.T. Church" founded by the Lord Jesus Christ during His ministry on earth as the "local, visible body of Christ (i.e. Church)." This historic Baptist Churches adhere to this model.

The second model originated in Rome in A.D. 325 and was founded by the emperor Constantine when he formed a league with some of the N.T. Churches of that time and declared the Christian religion to be the religion of Rome. The Church polity of the Constantine Church was based upon the "universal, visible Church." This model became the model for the Roman Catholic church in A.D. 610 when the Roman Emperor Phocus ordained Boniface as the first Pope and invested him with supreme ecclesiastical jurisdiction. 

The third model had its origin at the Diet of Spires in A.D. 1529 with the origin of the Protestant Church and its many denominations. The Church polity of the Protestant Church is the "universal, invisible Church," which makes a distinction between the "legal nature" of the spiritual Church.

The central tenet of the Baptist Churches adhering to the "local, visible Church" model is the absolute sovereignty of the Church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church. The doctrine of this Church requires the complete separation of the Church from the state. This doctrine of separation conflicts with the doctrine of both the Catholic Church and the many denominations of Protestant Churches which became established as State Churches.

The doctrine of the universal Church model is not offended by Church-State associations, and the Protestant Churches became State established Churches (i.e., Lutheran Church-Germany; Presbyterian-Scotland; Church of England-England). Throughout Church history, the State established Churches warred against the N.T. Churches who resisted their authority over the local, N.T. Churches, and persecuted them. The First Amendment purposed to end the persecution of the local N.T. Churches, called by the name "Baptist" and other "non-conformist Churches." 

The decision of the Seventh Circuit puts the N.T. Churches back to the place they were in before the First Amendment was adopted. Today, IBT is being punished for adhering to the faith and practices of the N.T. Church as a "local, visible body of Christ" by the loss of the Church properties and criminal and civil sanctions. 

Further, the decision establishes the "universal Church" model whose doctrine is not offended by State-Church alliances as a State Church in the U.S. to the exclusion of the practice of the faith and practice of those Churches adhering to the N.T. "local, visible body of Christ" model.

The Supreme Court has reviewed the effect of government regulations, tax laws, etc. on the religious beliefs of: 

(1) Individuals: See, U.S. v Lee, [455 US 252 (1982)] where an Amish businessman was required to withhold Social Security taxes from his employees; etc.

(2) Christian Churches and Christian Ministries modeled upon the "universal, invisible Church" model as tax-exempt religious institutions: See, Bob Jones University v U.S., [461 U.S. 574 (1983)] where the Court held that the tax-exempt gift to a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation was a public subsidy and all laws and public policies are binding upon it; Swaggart Ministries v Cal. Bd. of Equalization, [493 US 378 (1990)] where a tax-exempt non-profit corporation was required to pay state sales tax, etc. Ed note: Cases involving The Mormon Church as an Unincorporated Association, and a Catholic Church was also cited under this heading.

(3) Non-Christian faiths organized as tax-exempt religious institutions: See, Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v City of Hialeah, [508 US 520, 546-47 (1993) where the Supreme Court upheld the sacrifice of chickens as a religious animal sacrifice is protected by the First amendment for the Santeria religion which is organized as a tax-exempt non-profit corporation. 

But this Court has never considered the effect of government regulations on the faith and practices of the N.T. Church which is a special assembly of saved, baptized people existing as the body of Christ on earth as the Lord's "ecclesia" (assembly) ( Matt. 16:18).

All the facts in these cases can be distinguished from the facts present in IBT. The Seventh Circuit refused to distinguish these facts from the facts of IBT and relied upon Smith. The Seventh Circuit said, "Significantly, however, neutral laws of general application that burden relgious practices do not run afoul of the Free Exercise Clause."

Although the tax laws appear to be neutral on their face, it cannot be argued that the tax laws are "neutral in their effect" when applied to the doctrine, faith, and practices of the N.T. Church. This is an issue that was not present in Smith that this Court has not yet ruled upon.

Only this Court can settle this issue, the issue of God as the sovereign head of His Church in the U.S. Can the government tax God? Can the government regulate God? If the decision of the Seventh Circuit stands, the answer is yes, and the decisions of this Court and the Seventh Circuit have rendered the protections of the Religious Liberty Clauses of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for the New Testament Churches of non-effect. 

11. The Seventh Circuit's opinion has decided an important federal question in a way that conflicts with relevant decisions of this court.

The Seventh Circuit opinion conflicts with the holding of this Court in Murdock v. Pennsylvania, [319 U.S. 105 (1943)]. In Murdock, this Court struck down a flat license tax imposed on religious activities because the tax was levied and collected as a prior restraint to the exercise of religion. The Court said, "The constitutional rights of those spreading their religious beliefs through the spoken and printed word are not to be gauged by standards governing retailers or wholesalers of books."

Citing Magnano Co. v. Hamilton, [292 U.S. 40, 44 (1934)], the Court said, "The power to tax the exercise of a privilege is the power to control or suppress its enjoyment."

The facts in the IBT case are not unlike those in Murdock. The imposition of the employer tax laws to a N.T. Church existing solely under the authority of the scriptures of the Holy Bible as a special assembly of saved, baptized people as a sovereign body under the Lordship of Jesus Christ operates as a prior restraint on the exercise of their religion. The assembly cannot exist unless it first denies its faith in the Holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ and recognizes the government as the head of the Church instead of Christ. In accordance with this Court's holding in Murdock, the N.T. Church and its polity, faith and practices cannot be gauged by standards governing individuals, businesses, tax-exempt public charities or tax-exempt religious organizations whose religious convictions, church polity, faith and practices are not offended by church-state entanglements. The power to tax the N.T. Church in effect controls and suppresses the exercise of the faith and practices of the Church.

The Seventh Circuit opinion also conflicts with the holding of this Court in Rector, Etc., of Holy Trinity Church v. U.S., [143 U.S. 457 (1892)]. The Holy Trinity Church was a case where the government first attempted to regulate the church by enforcing the "Alien Laws" to the church. The government attempted to deport a Bishop the Church had brought over from Europe. This Court rebuffed the government's attempt. After reviewing and considering the foundational and fundamental laws and customs upon which this nation was founded, this Court said, "The language of the act, if construed literally, evidently leads to an absurd result. If a literal construction of the words of a statute be absurd, the act must be so construed as to avoid the absurdity."

Citing, U.S. v. Kirby, [7 Wall. 482 (1868)], this Court said, "All laws should receive a sensible construction. General terms should be so limited in their application as not to lead to injustice, oppression or an absurd consequence. It will always, therefore, be presumed that the legislature intended exceptions to its language which would avoid results of this character."

Then this Court asked, "In the face of all these, shall it be believed that a congress of the U.S. intended to make it a misdemeanor for a Church of this country to contract for the services of a Christian minister residing in another nation?

Then the Court held that the statute was not applicable to the Church of Holy Trinity and said, "It is the duty of the courts, under those circumstances to say that, however broad the language of the statute may be, although within the letter, is not within the intention of the legislature, and therefore cannot be within the statute." [ Holy Trinity v. U.S.]

The imposition of the employer tax laws to IBT has lead to the prosecution of the Church; the seizure and imminent sale of its properties; the exposure of all N.T. Churches in the U.S. to criminal and civil sanctions for exercising their faith in the Lordship of Jesus Christ as the Holy, Sovereign Head of the Church in all things; and the ultimate extinction of the N.T. Churches in the U.S. These results are absurb in light of the history of the Religious Liberty Clauses of the First Amendment.

Congress simply did not intend the employer tax laws to apply to a N.T. Church that has not organized itself as a public charity seeking benefits as a tax-exempt organization under Sec. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

CONCLUSION

The Petition for Writ of Certiorari should be granted.

Respectfully submitted,
Albert F. Cunningham
Attorney for Petitioner 

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