Church & Taxes

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by howard435, Aug 10, 2003.

  1. howard435

    howard435
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    The following was received by e-mail - just passing it on.

    City of Salem threatens to begin foreclosure against the church at Salem

    An open letter to all who are concerned

    On 07-17-03 the church at Salem received notice from Crusader Servicing Corporation of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania that in 30 days "a complaint will be filed to foreclose the right to redeem the property from tax sale". Because the church at Salem has never paid property taxes, the City has been harassing us with this threat for the past 3½ years. Crusader is an agent acting on behalf of the City who occasionally does their "dirty work" in these matters. Their goal is to scare us into paying property taxes or else they will rob, pillage and plunder our Lord's house and church. Some have asked what we are going to do in light of this threat. The short answer is, we're going to act like God's Word is true! How that will be manifest is what this letter is about. First, however, it will be good to give a brief history of events so that by His Grace you may come to understand why the Lord has Directed me in a way which I have no choice but to follow.

    In early 1999 the Lord Jesus Christ Established the church at Salem as His body ekklesia (the church in Law). From the beginning, He warned us not to incorporate under state jurisdiction if we wished to function under His literal and Lawful Lordship; For it is written, no servant can serve two masters. Incorporating the church constitutes a conflict of law and nullifies its preexisting authority. In short, it legally surrenders the Lordship of Christ to the State. I won't go any further into the subject at this time since I have already done so extensively in other writings which, unfortunately, few can bear the truth of. Nevertheless, it's a fact, it's the law, and those who won't accept it are either ignorant of the law or just plain self-deceived. Also at this time I accepted the Lord's Call and Appointment as an ambassador for Christ in actual and literal reality (II Corinthians 5:20 and Ephesians 6:20). Thus our foundation was built ab initio upon the Sovereign Lordship of Jesus the Christ and none other.

    Since they would be in violation of the First Amendment, there are no laws anywhere in America requiring the church of Jesus Christ to incorporate. It is critical that you understand this central truth in order to appreciate how frustrating our 3 ½ year battle has been and how fundamentally contrary to law the City's position is in this matter. Regardless, even if there were such a law, we are compelled to obey God's Law rather than man's (Acts 5:29). Therefore, the choice for us was simple - we would never incorporate.

    Nevertheless, in total disregard of our God-given Rights, and their own laws as well, the City of Salem demanded that we must incorporate under the laws of the State of New Jersey or begin paying property tax. Their position was that since we refuse to incorporate, we cannot be a real church and are therefore not entitled to what other churches are entitled to. This demand to incorporate constitutes a "test for religion" in violation of the First Amendment, and is also illegal by statutory and case law standards.
    In my possession I have eight pages of quotes from various case law cites which clearly state that it is a violation of the First Amendment to treat a church that chooses not to incorporate differently from one that does. Still, all this made no difference to the City's attorney, David J. Puma, who insisted we were wrong and that if we refused to incorporate we would eventually lose our house and church for not paying taxes. Over the next year and a half many correspondences and phone conversations took place between Dave Puma and myself. Although I actually came to like him and enjoy our conversations it didn't take long for me to discover that, consistent with the nature of his profession, his words were deceitful.

    On 06-08-00, three brethren of the church at Salem met with lawyer Puma in his office where, on behalf of the City, he asked us to provide a formal Statement declaring our beliefs and prohibition concerning church incorporation. This statement was to be accepted by the City in lieu of the standard contract form which they used for incorporated churches. Believing we had finally settled the dispute, everyone felt relieved. In good faith, we prepared our Statement of Faith and delivered it to lawyer Puma the next day. Nevertheless, one week later the City sold the first of three tax liens against the church at Salem thereby taking constructive possession of it. Dave Puma lied, and we got a first hand lesson in how the word "attorney" came from a French word meaning, "to twist"?

    I am ashamed to say that a few days later we redeemed the lien and paid $5,550. in back taxes for fear of loosing the church and our home. I succumbed to the enemies fear tactics. I learned a very expensive lesson and since then have repented of my sin of unbelief. As pastor of the church at Salem and a faithful steward of Christ's inheritance I vowed to never again allow any man to extort monies from the church of Jesus Christ. Another year passed during which time the City threatened us with more harassing notices, which all displayed the nature and intent of a declaration of war.

    On 06-06-01, while I was in jail without a warrant, the City sold a second tax lien to Crusader Servicing Corporation. Two days before the sale, while peaceably assembled with fifteen friends and members of the church at Salem, I was illegally taken into custody without charges, without a warrant, without Miranda Rights and without being properly identified. Although the church had previously met in Lawful assembly to prepare a Non-Statutory Writ of Habeas Corpus which the brethren presented at the time of my false arrest, no habeas corpus review was ever conducted. Their denial of due process was just one more of the many violations of law they committed with impunity only to scoff at and belittle later when we questioned them about it. From the beginning, the City has shown a complete and utter contempt for the Laws of our God and for their own laws as well whenever those laws don't suit their purpose. This hostile aggression and personal attack against an ambassador for Christ however set a new low benchmark. It was now obvious and without question that the City had declared war on the church at Salem complete with official declarations of war stating clearly what they were going to do to us for resisting. Their purpose and goal was to rob, pillage and plunder the substance and inheritance of our Sovereign Lord and King, Jesus the Christ (Isaiah 33:22).

    While incarcerated, the Lord Directed me to begin a fast of all food, water and medications until such time as I was unconditionally released. For the first time in my life I dealt with the question of whether or not I was willing to defend the Lordship of Christ at any cost. I knew what the answer was, my wife and family knew what the answer was, but those who were testing me didn't. Consequently, I was examined by psychiatric experts (whatever that means?) to see if I was nuts. I was photographed and fingerprinted without my consent and denied the right to make a phone call or send a letter to my wife at any time during the entire period. Finally, on day four, fearing I might die while being illegally held in their jail, I was unconditionally released without signing any papers whatsoever. Several months later in an effort to sweep everything under the rug, the outlaw judge who authorized this abuse of civil process, quietly "disposed of" the matter. On the other hand, the local newspaper had a different approach. They decided to slander me and disgrace the Lord's church in public.

    While I was in jail, Today's Sunbeam reported many lies and distortions about me and the church at Salem. A large color photograph of the church house graced their front page with headlines reading, "Pastor' arrested on court warrant", in large bold letters. For four days they covered ad nauseam any little new tidbit they could find about the story while beating to death the same old details they covered the day before. Every personal reference to us where the words pastor and church appeared were always in quotation marks as to infer that I was a charlatan and the church was illegitimate because we refused to incorporate with their Beast.

    Although my false arrest was recorded on video and copies along with a Non-Statutory Declaration of Truth (affidavit) were provided to lawyer Puma, judge Krell, chief of police Ronald Sorrell, governor James McGreevey and others, nobody objected! Earlier this year when I asked the chief of police to conduct an internal affairs investigation he became visibly angry with me and demanded to know why I waited so long. After providing me, one week later, with two irrelevant pages of paper, he got really angry when I asked him for a copy of his final report. Needless to say, I never got one. I quickly discovered that when it comes to those in power breaking the law and persecuting Christ and His church, very few have the courage to stand up. Even so-called christians are afraid to speak out. Pastor friends of mine and others who I used to respect and admire were silent when the police took me away. In fact, most of my own family was, and still is, afraid to talk with me about my false arrest or the subject of church incorporation. It shudders me to see how deeply the malignant tentacles of "corporation religion" - i.e. 501 (c) (3) - have invaded the body of Christ. Even more, I am amazed at how much those who are infected by it love their disease.

    The 30 day deadline for foreclosure puts us at about 08-17-03. What specifically, at that time, the City and their agent Crusader Servicing Corporation will do is not clear. What I will do, on the other hand, is abundantly clear. On the evening of my false arrest, we had just Served the Mayor and each of his Council members with their own personal copy of our Declaration of Liberty in Christ. I have included here for your edification the last paragraph of that Declaration with the following warning to any intruders who would come in the name of a stranger to break the Close and unlawfully possess that which alone belongs to Christ.
    "Now, therefore, any City official who willfully and knowing fails to provide this Declaration as full disclosure to any potential buyer of any fictional, commercial instrument commonly known as a "tax lien" which fictional, commercial instrument purports to represent the actual subject house and land Declared by its Owner as the church at Salem and which fictional, commercial instrument is persona non standi in judicio, dead in the Law we Minister in the Name of Christ because it has no Life Breathed into it by the Spirit of the Living God and therefore has no force or effect outside the venue from which it originates and all who partake of that condemned fictional, commercial instrument are therefore hereby Warned and Notified Caveat actor, Caveat emptor that all and any who come in the name of a stranger to break the Close of and over the Sovereign Domain of our King with the intent to rob, pillage and plunder His Substance and Inheritance, will be Judged sanguis guilty by Him for the shedding of the blood and taking of the physical life of an ambassador for Christ of the church at Salem who was sent forth by Him through the unsearchable riches of His Love and Grace to Proclaim His Righteous Laws and Judgments for I, William Raymond: am persuaded, prepared and willing to lay down that physical life, if the Lord so Wills, to defend and protect the flock of the Good Shepherd Christ Jesus and the Right of His Lordship over those whom, and that which, He has purchased with His Precious Blood for it is written "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing."

    When the City's constructive possession crosses the line to become actual possession, and they come to physically remove us, I will again begin a fast in the same manner as when I was falsely arrested and imprisoned two years ago. This I do under the Authority and Provision of Holy Scripture* which is the Word and Law of our Sovereign God and King. Until such time as those who have stolen the substance of our inheritance return every portion of it without condition, I will remain fasting. Although I believe everyone, or their family, should make final arrangements for themselves, in this particular case the Lord has instructed me to literally make no provisions for the flesh. That burden will fall to the usurpers of Christ's Lordship who must take everything or nothing.

    I love my two sons, my two daughters and the four soul-mates God has chosen for them. I love all my grandchildren very much. I love my wife beyond my ability to express in words. I love my friends and fellow laborers in Christ and the work of the ministry to which I am Called. But my duty and love for Christ - who first loved me and gave Himself for me - will not be denied. I pray, if it be His Will, that I may have many more years of faithful service to Him and my family. My will aside, I pray His Will be done whatever that may be. May the love of our Sovereign God, Christ Jesus keep your heart steadfast in Him.

    In Christ
    William Raymond:


    * I Kings 21:3, 9 & 19; and, II Chronicles 20:3, 11 & 12; and, Ezra 8:21; and, Esther 4:16
     
  2. bobfrgsn

    bobfrgsn
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    This "pastor" is in violation of civil law and should obey or suffer the results of civil disobedinece.
     
  3. Dr. Gerald Click

    Dr. Gerald Click
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    Luke 20:25 "And He said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's"

    Generally, any recognized church has been traditionally exempt from many taxes. In the current economic climate, many jurisdictions are tightening up on what they consider to be "recognized religious organizations" Under US Revenue code, a church does not need to be incorporated to enjoy tax exemption. Possibly New Jersey feels they rank higher than US Federal regulations.
     
  4. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus
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    Bro Bob There is no law, I repeat no law that requires churches to incorporate or become C-3's for tax exempt purposes. Would you mind advising us what civil law the Pastor is in violation of?

    Secondly, for you and our friend from Vancover, if a church is not incorporated and is not operating as an unincorporated association it is "non-taxable" and has all the protection of the US Const.

    As far as Rendering unto Ceasar, that dude is dead!
    Really now, if a church has not entered into the realm of Ceasar (SCOTUS Ruling) it does not owe Ceasar. I believe you are correct if a church is a C-3 business, a business needs to pay their fair share, but not if it is a church with no "affinity with Egypt".
    Thanks ------Bart
     
  5. Peter101

    Peter101
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    >>>>>>>>It was now obvious and without question that the City had declared war on the church at Salem complete with official declarations of war stating clearly what they were going to do to us for resisting. Their purpose and goal was to rob, pillage and plunder the substance and inheritance of our Sovereign Lord and King, Jesus the Christ (Isaiah 33:22).<<<<<<<<<

    Why would the city want to declare war on this church? I suspect that something is being left out of this account.
     
  6. Peter101

    Peter101
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    >>>>>Bro Bob There is no law, I repeat no law that requires churches to incorporate or become C-3's for tax exempt purposes. Would you mind advising us what civil law the Pastor is in violation of?<<<<<

    It is unlikely that the city arrested him without giving a reason. It is strange that the Pastor does not provide that reason. I think some important information is missing from this account.
     
  7. Ben W

    Ben W
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    In Australia there is no such thing as taxes for churches, all religious groups are exempted, yet as I am aware this is not always the case in other countries, I have heard that there are countries where you have to pay a tax if you attend church?
     
  8. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    It's too bad we don't have a link to look into this more...
     
  9. Bob Farnaby

    Bob Farnaby
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    I think current Australian Law requires a church to be registered as a charity to gain exemption from taxes, certainly to gain exemption from the GST.

    Apart from that ... may I ask what may be considered a radical question in this group?

    Why should any church or religious group be exempt from tax? Surely all who live in an area should be treated equally. We all benefit from the work of the police, emergency services, councils, social services, roads, defence, and other services provided by the payment of tax, so why exempt?

    Regards
    Bob
     
  10. Bob Farnaby

    Bob Farnaby
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    Not familiar with US law so don't have enough real knowledge to contribute much to the issue, but seems reasonable to me, if you don't want to comply with the law then you can't expect the bbenefits it gives. Don't feel any real sympathy for the guy writing the story.

    By all means follow your concience to not incorporate (I can empathise with that) but don't expect the privalages that go with incorporation. Pay the appropriate tax.

    Bob
     
  11. Refreshed

    Refreshed
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    In the US, a "church" is a non-entity. It is not taxable, and does not have an official status. If a "church" is incorporated, they are offered a tax-exempt status as opposed to the nontaxable nature of a church that is not incorporated. A nonincorporated church does not owe taxes in the US because it does not exist in the eyes of the government and does not fall within one of three categories recognized by taxing authorities:

    1. Individual.
    2. Corporation.
    3. Unincorporated association.

    If a church begins acting like a corporation via board meetings, official member rolls etc., it will attain the status of Unincorporated association and will therefore be taxable unless they file for 501-C3 status.

    This is an excerpt from a paper I wrote on the issue:
    This guy really blew it though because he submitted to the taxing authority by paying the tax. That made him an entity, and he should have fully submitted to the taxing authority after that.

    Jason
     
  12. Ben W

    Ben W
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    Bob, a church is a group of people, People that already pay tax, there is no point paying twice simply because you belong to a community group.

    Also many churches fill welfare gaps that the governmnet should cover, so I think that is fair.
     
  13. ColoradoFB

    ColoradoFB
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    One could argue that a company is a group of people, and those people already pay taxes.

    It seems to me that if a church expects city services, fire protection, police protection, etc., it should pay its fair share of providing that service. Doing otherwise, as is current practice, means we all support and subsidize religions with which we disagree.
     
  14. Barnabas H.

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    The story posted, as a copy of an email, is kind of ambiguous and incomplete. As I was reading through, I could see the main topic to remain unincorporated. I believe in two or three states churches are not required to incorporate. It has its advantages as well as disadvantages. My question here is the following: What is the name of the church? For without the proper name we do not know which entity we are talking about. We cannot find any reference to it in the news, the story cannot be substantiated. Do you have more information about this, and possibly a link to the source? [​IMG]
     
  15. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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    While interesting, at the moment with the lack of backup documentation or references (not even a citation of the Salem Daily Bugle-Examiner and Worker's Daily), the status of this story can only be 'an unsubstantiated report'. With further information, the story's status can and will change.
     
  16. Squire Robertsson

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    After doing a quick and dirty search through google news, I found that the name of the local paper is Today's Sunbeam. I did not find any reference to any of the events cited above. I used such search terms as "pastor" (0), "church" (8), and "Puma" (2). One problem may be that google didn't start compiling news stories until mid-July 03. If anybody is a better googler than I, I would like to see your results.
     
  17. Refreshed

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    I had the same problem as you, Squire. I could find nothing on this case when I googled.

    Jason
     
  18. howard435

    howard435
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    As mentioned in my initial post I only provided the information because the subject involved "News Affecting Baptist Worldwide" and at the time I did not and still don't know anymore than what I posted. However since a number of you wanted more information I requested the sender to get me the church email so you can ask them your questions and get it from them directly. As the email requested that it be passed on I have assumed they (the church/pastor) made that request and so I feel free to provide you the email. It is: [email protected].

    Because He lives, Howard435
     
  19. Paul of Eugene

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    Did you catch this bit?

    Could our "victim" be claiming his own home as the church and seeking to get tax exemption for the property where he has his personal dwelling?
     
  20. Squire Robertsson

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    This wouldn't be the first time a church was started in the pastor's front parlor. And church owned parsonages/manses do have a long honorable legal history. But there is something here that is seems to be crying, "Please, make me a martyr, pretty please."
     

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