INDIANAPOLIS BAPTIST TEMPLE OWES NO TAXES
I am writing this letter in response to the editorial, the opinion poll and the cartoon concerning the Indianapolis Baptist Temple and me as the Pastor of the church on Saturday, October 7, 2000.
First of all, it is impossible for one to form a logical and correct opinion without knowing the true facts. Secondly, it is impossible to know the true facts unless one is willing to take the time to ask the right questions. This certainly takes time and effort in the busy world in which we live, not only for the press but also for the citizen.
The truth is our case is not about the validity of the income tax system. Approximately 60 of our ministers have been audited by the Internal Revenue Service since 1996 and passed. I personally have been audited twice and have passed both times. However, the Internal Revenue Service wants to keep these facts a secret in order to keep public opinion against us and on their side while they do their dirty work in destroying a 50 year old church.
The truth is all churches that are "Public Charities" as distinguished from the New Testament Church, as 501(c)3 tax exempt business organizations, are obligated by statute to withhold and remit taxes to the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of all their employees. These religious business organizations (churches), for government benefits, have agreed up front to obey and espouse public policy even if it is contrary to the Holy Scripture. Maybe this is why we do not hear much preaching against abortion these days.
The truth is there are tens of thousands of ministers throughout this county, city, state and country that pay their personal taxes just like our ministers do. Everyone of these ministers should stand up and say, "enough is enough". Most ministers have always been self-employed and most still are.
The truth is the government is not only telling the members of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple how to worship but is dictating what percentage of tax to pay on behalf of its ministers. Today our church is being told to pay income, social security and Medicare taxes. Tomorrow your church maybe told to pay property tax, sales tax or maybe a tax will be levied on your church's profits at the end of the year. My question is, where will it all stop? "The power to tax is the power to control."
The truth is the Indianapolis Baptist Temple is supported by tithes, offerings and gifts only. The Indianapolis Baptist Temple is not a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. We do not have a federal ID number nor can our members deduct their giving to the church from their 1040 form. We take nothing from government and as a result the church owes government nothing but our prayers.
The truth is our message and cause should be the message and cause of every gospel preacher. Our case is not only a First Amendment case, "Congress shall make no laws establishing religion nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof", but it is also a First Commandment case, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me". Jesus said it like this, "You cannot serve two masters...". The Sacred Scripture is the final authority for the church, not the Internal Revenue Service code. Please remember if the First Amendment does not protect our faith it does not protect yours. Also, no where in the Bible does it command the church to pay a tax. Maybe individuals but not the church.
The truth is for the church to comply with an order of a Federal Judge that is contrary to the Sacred Scripture would be disobedience to God. Daniel, when he went to the lions den for praying, understood this principle and so should the modern day Christian and pastor.
The truth is nothing that belongs to God should be given to Caesar. God's church is holy, sacred and should be treated with greater respect.
The truth is our ministers and members have a right, not only as tax payers to use the roadways, libraries and other services provided by government, but we have the right like other Christians to assemble for the purpose of worship according to the dictates of our heart. This is what America and freedom are all about.
The truth is the Indianapolis Baptist Temple should not leave, they should stay.
Greg A. Dixon
Indianapolis Baptist Temple