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J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles - September 28, 2000
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Write baronboy@... and place your order today!Judge Orders Churchto Move OutFrom: "SierraTimes.com" citizen@...
To: "SierraTimes.com" sierratimesalert@...
Subject: Baptist Temple Update
SierraTimes.com UpdateINDIANAPOLIS (AP) - In an extraordinary clash between church and state, a federal judge Thursday ordered a congregation to clear out of its church to satisfy a nearly $6 million debt to the IRS.
U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker gave the Indianapolis Baptist Temple until Nov. 14 to move out, after which the IRS will sell the building.
The church has been feuding with the IRS since 1984, when the Rev. Greg Dixon, now pastor emeritus, ordained all church employees as ministers and refused to withhold income and Social Security taxes. The IRS said the unpaid taxes, penalties and interest total nearly $6 million.
``I'm not a prophet, but I believe we're going to be in this building longer than Nov. 14,'' said Dixon's son, the Rev. Greg Dixon Jr., who is now head of the congregation. ``We've had deadlines before, and those deadlines have been pushed back.''
The Dixons have proclaimed their case to be a test of religious freedom, though numerous courts have upheld the application of tax laws to churches.
Numerous anti-government activists, many of them with ties to right-wing militia groups, have rallied behind the Dixons, who have said they will not leave voluntarily.
One member of a Washington advocacy group that monitors church-related topics said the order could be the first of its kind.
``It's certainly the first time anything of this magnitude has occurred,
where you're dealing with millions of dollars and a basic conflict over
whether churches should be required to pay these kinds of taxes,'' said
Joseph Conn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
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