Tags: All's | Calm | Tax-Defying | Church

All's Calm at Tax-Defying Church

Friday, 24 November 2000 12:00 AM

According to the Indianapolis Star:

There's no doubt the Indianapolis Baptist Temple and the federal government have locked horns over a sizeable tax bill due, but it's not a hostile confrontation.

The pastor of the church, the Rev. Gregory A. Dixon, keeps insisting he and his flock will not leave the church premises unless evicted by United States marshals.

The marshal in charge, Frank Anderson, insists he will have to do his sworn duty and carry out the federal court order to confiscate the church property to satisfy the $6 million tax judgment.

But, at least so far, neither side is taking actions to provoke the other. Indeed, on each side of the controversy, calm's the word.

As Donald Bassett, a law enforcement consultant who formerly was one of the FBI's top crisis specialists, puts it:

"Both the marshal and Dixon are handling themselves very well. I think cooler heads are prevailing.

"There are some people in law enforcement who, 10 years ago, would have said, 'The heck with this. We're going to do it forthwith.' They would have been kicking down doors."

He's convinced bloody incidents like Waco and Ruby Ridge helped change the way federal agents now respond to crises.

In 1992, at Ruby Ridge in Idaho, the wife and son of white supremacist Randall Weaver and a federal marshal were killed in gun battles when the government tried to arrest Weaver for not appear in court on a gun charge.

The next year, some four-score members of the Branch Davidian cult perished in a fire in their compound near Waco, Texas, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation moved in to end its protracted siege.

Bassett, a member of an informal group of academics, law enforcement officers and psychologists who after Waco assembled to discuss how such situations are handled, said, "I think that law enforcement has listened to some of the lessons of conflict management and conflict resolution."

Some of the church supporters want simply to make their point by being arrested and evicted, and they are growing weary of waiting for marshals to arrive.

The tax judgment resulted from the church's refusal to withhold employee income taxes and pay the church's share of its employees' Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Despite numerous court rulings to the contrary, the church's leaders and its supporters contend it should not be a collection agent for the Internal Revenue Service.

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According to the Indianapolis Star: There's no doubt the Indianapolis Baptist Temple and the federal government have locked horns over a sizeable tax bill due, but it's not a hostile confrontation. The pastor of the church, the Rev. Gregory A. Dixon, keeps insisting he...
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Friday, 24 November 2000 12:00 AM
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