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Re: Tax cheatin' church - the law of unintended consequences!

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  • rlbaty50
    ... http://www.christianpost.com/news/ohio-church-under-attack-by-atheist-group-56893/ The Christian Post Ohio Church Under Attack by Atheist Group By Joseph
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 1 6:37 AM
      This is how the Christian Post is reporting it:



      The Christian Post

      Ohio Church Under Attack by Atheist Group
      By Joseph Perkins
      Christian Post Contributor
      Friday, September 30, 2011

      When Christ Cathedral Church in Columbus, Ohio had an atheist billboard removed from its property back in June, it thought it had heard the last from the billboard's sponsor, the so-called Freedom From Religion Foundation.

      But the atheist organization, based in Madison, Wisc., found another way to attack the church. It sicked the Franklin County, Ohio Auditor's Office on Christ Cathedral, claiming that the church was required to pay property taxes on the land on which the billboard stood, because it was used for commercial purposes.

      Although it would seem that the out-of-state organization would have no legal standing to bring a tax claim against the Ohio church, Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo sided with the atheists.

      So Christ Cathedral Church now finds itself liable for roughly $20,000 in commercial property taxes, as FFRF gloats on its website. On its Facebook page, the church informed its congregation it had been targeted by

      > "Satan and his imps."

      FFRF denies that the property owned by Christ Cathedral was specifically chosen as one of seven locations for a billboard campaign promoting atheism (notwithstanding that FFRF had its choice of well more than 100 billboards in Columbus leased by Clear Channel Outdoor).

      The billboard featured the smiling image of a local college student proclaiming the atheist message: "I can be good without God."

      It seemed more than coincidental to some that the pictured atheist student was black, just like Christ Cathedral's pastor.

      That suggested to some that FFRF is taking its crusade against religion – which heretofore has concentrated on the white evangelical community – to the black church.

      Whether that is the case or not did not matter to the Rev. Waymon Malone, Christ Cathedral's pastor. He simply ordered the offending billboard removed from church property. Clean Channel Outdoor complied within a matter of days, reposting the billboard at another location.

      Meanwhile, the account executive who worked with FFRF to find locations for the atheist organization's billboard says he had no idea that one of those selected was on church property.

      It was "an unfortunate oversight" by Clear Channel, said Jay Schmidt, account executive for Matrix Media Services, who handled the atheist organization's billboard buy.

      FFRF insists that it, rather than Christ Cathedral Church, is the wronged party in the billboard controversy.

      > "The action of this censorious church,"

      said Annie Laurie Gaylor, the organization's co-president,

      > "shows exactly why our campaign, intended
      > to encourage social acceptance of nonbelievers,
      > is so important."


      --- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com,
      "rlbaty50" <rlbaty@...> wrote:

      This developing story was mentioned here earlier. This is an update from Annie

      ----------------------Press Release------------------------

      Columbus Church must "render unto Caesar"
      Property tax does not exclude the divine
      Columbus Church must "render unto Caesar"

      September 29, 2011

      A decision by Christ Cathedral Church, 3350 Allegheny Ave., Columbus, Ohio to
      remove a Freedom From Religion Foundation billboard has had expensive
      consequences for the church.

      Shortly after Columbus atheist Dylan Galos' "Coming Out of the Closet"
      billboard, stating "I can be good without God," went up in late June, Rev.
      Waymon Malone Jr. of Christ Cathedral Church said it had to go, and it was moved
      to a new location. The church owns the property the billboard company was
      leasing near its parking lot.

      After finding no record the Church paid property taxes for this commercial use
      of the property, FFRF sent a letter July 7 asking Franklin County Auditor
      Clarence Mingo II to investigate.

      A few days later, FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott got a phone call from a
      member of Mingo's staff.

      > "He said that the billboard property will
      > be taxed. It is approximately one-tenth of
      > an acre that will be taxed at a yearly rate
      > of $185,"

      said Elliott.

      FFRF further inquired in an Aug. 1 letter to Mingo about the church-owned
      property at 407 Stelzer Road that is directly behind the billboard.

      It was purchased in 2006 for $550,000 and is receiving a tax exemption.

      Several private businesses are leasing most of the building.

      Teach & Learn Child Care, AMC Realty and AMC Transport, all with listed
      addresses at 407 Stelzer Road, are headed by Anthony Malone. FFRF does not know
      how Pastor Malone and Anthony Malone are related.

      On Sept. 22, FFRF received confirmation that the property will now be fully
      taxed in 2011.

      After assessing the property value for 2011, the Franklin County Auditor
      determined the property to be for commercial use and valued at $735,300.

      In 2010, the property was assessed at $673,700, nearly all of it tax exempt, as
      it was listed as "a place of worship."

      The Church failed to pay about $1,645 due for 2010 (for a small portion then
      considered commercial), and now owes $1,900 including penalties.

      Commercial property taxes are expected to be more than $18,000.

      To date, the church has not submitted a new application for exemption and would
      need to provide evidence of exempt use.

      > "Apparently this church doesn't heed the scriptural
      > advice in Matthew 22:21 'Render unto Caesar the
      > things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things
      > that are God's,' "

      noted FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

      > "Has this church, that was so offended that a
      > grad student could be 'good without God,' been
      > good with God?"

      On Aug. 5, Christ Cathedral Church's Facebook page warned that

      > "Satan and his imps"

      were going after them,

      > "but I think they've been their
      > own worst enemy,"

      said Gaylor.


      The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3)
      nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of
      freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep
      religion and government separate.

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