Baptist Temple Seized for Tax Evasion
Federal marshals took possession of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple early Tuesday morning in a peaceful exchange. Six supporters of the church, including the church's former pastor, were carried off the property by the 85 deputy marshals who were acting on the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The church had been in the news for the past year as a result of a dispute over $6 million in taxes owed to the IRS. The church stopped withholding income tax and Social Security tax from employees' paychecks in 1984, claiming that withholding taxes made the church an agent of the government, and the church owed allegience to no one but God.
The Reverend Greg A. Dixon, who is the former pastor of the church and father of the current pastor, also Rev. Greg A. Dixon, was wheeled out of the church on a gurney, as were several other protesters. The former Rev. Dixon claimed he had made an agreement with the Bush administration to dismiss the case. "We had a deal, and they welshed on the deal," said Dixon.
Dixon's son chimed in, "The fight is still not over. We are going to continue the fight for religious liberty."
This is the first time the federal government has ever seized a church for failure to pay taxes.