Taxing religion – Church battles IRS

Chanting “No more Waco,” hundreds of peopled rallied in Indianapolis to support a church that refuses to pay $6 million in overdue taxes, the Associated Press reports.

Leaders of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple — whose congregation numbers 1,000 — say they will not pay the money the IRS claims they owe since 1987, when the church renounced its tax-exempt status to protest government regulation.

“We did these things because we wanted to make Jesus Christ our head, our master and our Lord,” the Rev. Greg Dixon Jr., the church’s pastor, told AP. 

A legal battle followed when the church refused to pay federal withholding taxes on the income of its 60 employees.

Claiming hey will refuse to surrender their church if it is seized to pay tax debt and rekindling memories of the 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, the protesters drew 20 law enforcement officers in addition to plain-clothes federal agents. 

There were no arrests or violent incidents as the crowd heard speeches, chanted and sang in front of a downtown Indianapolis federal courthouse.  The protest drew supporters from Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan in addition to Indiana.

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