Indianapolis Baptist Temple v. U.S.: Churches Can't Reject Paying Taxes as a 'Sin'

Indianapolis Baptist Temple v. U.S.: Churches Can't Reject Paying Taxes as a 'Sin'

Indianapolis Baptist Temple v. U.S.

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Argued: Indianapolis Baptist Temple v. U.S. — The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals will rule against an Indiana church which argues that it is a sin for them to have to pay taxes — including Social Security, Medicare and income taxes for its employees.

According the Court, although the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment "absolutely protects the freedom to believe and profess whatever religious doctrine one desires" and also "provides considerable, though not absolute, protection for the ability to practice one's religion," it does not exempt religious organizations from "neutral laws of general application."

The court also says:

"...the Supreme Court and various courts of appeals [have] concluded both that maintaining a sound and efficient tax system is a compelling government interest and that the difficulties inherent in administering a tax system riddled with judicial exceptions for religious employers make a uniformly applicable tax system the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. ...

While taxing religious organizations involves greater government entanglement than not taxing them does, this greater entanglement is not necessarily unconstitutionally excessive.

In fact, the Supreme Court has held that the sorts of generally applicable administrative and record keeping requirements imposed by tax laws may be imposed on religious organizations without violating the Establishment Clause."

In 2001, the Supreme Court rejected without comment an appeal by the Indianapolis Baptist Temple. Reverend Reg A. Dix reacts by saying that

"God's judgment will be on these nine justices at the Supreme Court level. They will pay a price, and God will deal with that in his own time."

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