Saturday, May 07, 2011

Taxing Churches in the U.S.

More early signs of persecution of the church, this time in the United States... A pastor from Pennsylvania asks, "In our nation, under our Constitution, churches and other religious entities are exempt from taxation. So why was our church targeted?"

21 Ripple Brook Rd, Centermoreland
Tunkhannock, PA 18657
Pastor James Howell
Ian Bonthron, Youth

April, 2011

Dear Friends,

As the pastor of a small but vibrant church in Northeastern Pennsylvania, it has been my joy to serve my congregation and the Tunkhannock community for 28 years. We are a Bible-believing church, made up of people who love the Lord, and who are faithful, taxpaying citizens of the Commonwealth.

I am sure you can imagine my dismay when, to my surprise, I received a property tax bill from the county for a portion of our new church building. This was not right and so I went to the county commissioners to challenge this tax - to no avail.

As Christians, I understand that we are to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's," but in our nation; under our Constitution; churches and other religious entities are exempt from taxation. So why was our church targeted?

I turned to a national legal ministry, but they were unable to help. Then someone told me about the Pennsylvania Family Institute and its Independence Law Center. I gave Attorney Randy Wenger a call, and he signed up to help us immediately. He tells me the law and precedent are on our side, and he has filed an appeal on our behalf.

I would ask you to pray for our case (which could ultimately impact many churches) and for the Pennsylvania Family Institute. We are benefiting from the hard work and expertise which I understand is made possible by generous gifts from people like you. Thank you, too, for helping!

I am grateful that the Independence Law Center was there when we needed them, and pray they continue to have the resources to help others facing similar challenges.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor James Howell

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