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Testimony of Robert L. Grete
Page 6

Mr. Foster's view, the doctrine of the secular-humanists stated in the

Humanist Manifestos I & II, as

ell as biblical doctrine, make one point

absolutely clear:

THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN IS AN INHERENTLY RELIGIOUS

ACTIVITY. Yet, it seems that few people in America today understand the inherent religiousness of education that forms the world view and values of

children.

RBCS is presently developing a Christ-centered phonics and math

curriculum at the kindergarten level that we would be happy to demonstrate to

the Committee if desired. The point is that everything that we do in a

Christian school is to be done from a biblical prospective. We must control, discipline, train, and love our children according to Christ's commands. We must teach every area of knowledge from a biblical perspective, heeding the

biblical warning:

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and
empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according
to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according
to Christ.

(Col 2:8, NASV)

The First Amendment to the US Constitution bars Congress from making any laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise

thereof. If we accept the judicial doctrine that the 14th Amendment applies the

First Amendment to the states, or if we note that almost all State constitutions

have a similar provision, then government operation or control of schools is

constitutionally prohibited. I believe congressional action on this truth is

essential to the preservation of religious liberty in America.

We should recognize the documented excellence of American education before

civil government became involved. Those who believe that the education of

America's children should be funded through the coercive government tax system

have the constitutionally more acceptable tools of vouchers and tax credits to

work with.

The foregoing comments indicate my conviction that parents should have the

right to organize or utilize any school they choose to educate their children

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Testimony of Robert L. Grete
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according to their own religious presuppositions. No school should survive through political coercion. Schools should survive because parents support them as their servants. Nevertheless, today civil government not only operates the

nation's largest school system, but also seeks to extend control over

non-government schools.

RBCS was organized in 1973 to provide a biblically-based education to the children enrolled. Over the first 10 years of our existence our student body

has grown from 22 to over 370. This has been in the face of continuing

handicaps caused by unwarranted governmental actions.

I will mention those of

most significance and would be glad to offer documentation or details to the

Committee on any issue of interest.

First, government operation of tax funded schools produce a handicap to the

existence of schools that reject their secular faith.

RBCS parents are

discriminated against because they must pay taxes to support the government

school system which teaches an anti-Christian religious faith contrary to their

Own.

How can it be constitutional for civil government to force people to pay

for the propagation of a religious faith not their own? In addition, however,

our parents must pay the cost of the biblically-based education of their

children, which is a significant cost on top of the extravagant costs of secular

education.

The second handicap caused by unwarranted governmental activities is the

administrative cost incurred because we must meet purposeless government

requirements. For example, when we organized RBCS we were to told to write, inter alia, an application for a Federal Tax Exemption Letter. After hassles like having to provide data not requested in the printed IRS instructions, we finally received our Letter in October 1974. The Exemption Letter directed us

to file IRS Forms 990. After IRS lost our 1977 Form 990, I more closely

examined the instruction booklet and got my first initiation into IRS

Testimony of Robert L. Grete
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insensitivity to religious liberty issues. The details are found in my attached letter to the Christian Law Association dated 26 December 1979 (ATCH 1). (If

the Committee desires the letter's attachments, RBCS will provide them.)

The

letter indicates a trail of lost documentation, bureaucratic hassle and

evasiveness, and possibly an attempt at intimidation. By refusing to genuinely

respond to my question regarding IRS discrimination among religious

organizations, IRS demonstrated an insensitivity to the religious liberty issue

and successfully wore me down.

I cannot teach students and administer a growing

school if I must spend lots of time trying to get justice from the IRS

bureaucracy.

Thirdly, there is an increasing volume of legislative proposals that

threaten our ability to exist apart from government control.

An increasing

amount of time is spent by all of us in the field to deal with such issues.

Many parents are discouraged from enrolling their students in Christian schools

because of either the media's misinformation concerning government actions

against schools or the fear of becoming involved in litigation. I am sure the Committee has the details of many such cases, but I would like to comment on one

prominent example that you are familiar with.

On August 22, 1978, Jerome Kurtz, US Commissioner of the Internal Revenue

Service, placed his "Proposed Internal Revenue Procedures on Private Tax Exempt

Schools" in an incon icuous part of the Federal Register. Those procedures, which have the potential of extending great control over Christian schools, were

disguised as a defense of racial nondiscrimination. I attach my letters to Mr.

Kurtz of 2 October 1978 and 11 April 1979 (ATCH 2 and 3) to indicate some of the details of this issue. Neither letter, of course, was responded to by IRS. A

large response by the Christian community forced the IRS to hold hearings on

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in the Federal Register February 13, 1979. The revised procedures, however, did nothing to remove the major issue in this case. The Proposed Procedures first of all would allow the IRS to arbitrarily consider a school guilty of racial discrimination without being required to prove it. Such schools, to be termed "reviewable schools," could prove their innocence only by a radical affirmative action program. The basic logic is that unelected government agents would gain the authority to place sanctions on any school that did not conform to the

agency's concept of public policy. What a dangerous precedent! For several

years the Ashbrook-Dornan Amendments to Treasury Appropriations Bills prevented

the IRS from effecting these policies.

Then the tragic US Supreme Court

decision in the Bob Jones University case seemed to put into American law the

principle that religious freedom would have to be subordinated to public policy.

We live in an age when radical feminists and gay rights leaders are demanding affirmative action in favor of sodomists. Clearly biblical values could not be practiced by Christian schools if their radical demands became public policy. With hundreds of similar attempts to extend governmental control over religious ministries happening simultaneously throughout America, as a Christian school administrator I sometimes wonder where I will find the time to administer our biblically-based program. It seems I am derelict in my duty if I am not crying out against each of the threats against us. Yet to do so, would require all my time. More seriously, if the fruit of these adverse precedents soon come to pass, it is quite clear that the Christian school movement will no longer exist.

Government will even have the ability to confiscate all the property of

religious ministries that do not conform. Such a prospect is now a real possibility under the principles of the laws mentioned in the next item.

Fourthly, the federal government is handicapping Christian schools through laws which not only increase personnel costs but also provide the federal

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government with an instrument of control that can actually result in the

confiscation of the property of a religious ministry. The acts used to

accomplish this are the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) and the Social

Security Amendments of 1983.

As a Christian I believe the socialistic systems

effected by such laws go far beyond biblical and constitutional boundaries.

Although I realize in today's environment that these socialistic systems are not

likely to be eliminated, their recent extension into religious ministries

violates the religious conscience of those forced to participate as a

precondition to the exercise of their religious ministry. Allowing voluntary participation by members in religious ministries would be legitimate. Mandating

participation in a government program as a precondition to employment in a

religious ministry, however, certainly violates our First Amendment liberties.

Religious ministries should be left alone to provide for such contingencies as unemployment and retirement in a way in keeping with their faith.

Further, applying these laws to religious ministries opens up a degree of

federal government entanglement in the personnel policies of religious

ministries that could be used for all kinds of offensive control. Failure to

submit to the unbiblical and unconstitutional taxation required by these laws

can lead to the confiscation of the ministry's property, which obviously puts an end to the ministry. Truly, the power to tax is the power to control or

destroy.

Focusing on the alleged requirement of RBCS to pay the unemployment

compensation tax, I attach a recent bill showing the state's claim of taxes due plus interest and penalties (ATCH 4). The reason we periodically receive such

bills goes back to the unilateral action of Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall, who

decided to expand FUTA revenues by including employees of religious organizations. The U.S. Supreme Court in St. Martin Lutheran Church v. South Dakota (May 26, 1981) blocked the Labor Department's attempt to collect

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