« AnteriorContinuar »
I have received a copy of your proposed Reverne Procedure on Private Tax-Exempt Schools, announced in the Federal Register of 22 August 1978. I appreciate the opportunity to provide you my comments on a proposal which I fimly believe is unsound and unconstitutional. I respectfully request that you withdraw the proposal from consideration.
Let me first make clear tha: Rocky Bayou Christian School has a genuine nondiscriminatory policy. On both Biblical and Constitutional grounds, we declare that no student will be denied admission on the basis of race, color, or ethnic origin. My objections to your proposed procedures have nothing to do with the goal of facile itating equal opportunity in education, We fully support that goal. I find the proposal objectionable because it is destructive of that goal and the basic liberties guaranteed the American people by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.
First, I notice that the IRS definition of a racially nondiscriminatory policy requires that the school not discriminate on the basis of race in the administration of its policies. Yet the five factors to be used to determine that a school is nondiscriminatory are blatantly discriminatory and racist. Schools are being asked to demonstrate their nondiscriminatory policies by discriminating on the basis of race. This is nonsense. 1984 is here! Not only is it nonsense, but also it is imconstitutional (if I understand the Bakke decision correctly).
Secondly, the proposal to avoid discrimination by discriminating burdens schools with the administrative cost of keeping records according to race, when we should consider race an irrelevant criterion. I do not count how many blue-eyed/brown-eyed/ green-eyed/icky-eyed students we have. This is irrelevant information. Why does IRS want me to keep records according to racist criteria? I want to see a student as Fred, Sally, or Brian, not as our Black, Chicano, or Asian. Your proposal is destructive of the goal to truly make race an irrelevant criterion. You are requiring decisions based upon racist criteria. You are forcing schools to bear costly, umecessary administrative burdens to carry out racist actions in the name of nondiscrimination.
If the above two objections were my only objections, I doubt that I would take time out of my very busy schedule to comment on the proposal. I would figure IRS would not bother RBCS anyway. No court has determined RBCS to be discriminatory; We were not formed about the time of public school desegregation in our community, and we have enough fine students from the ethnic minorities in our conmmity to meet your quota standards. So why should I bother to write to you? The answer lies in the significance of my third objection.
Our constitution incorporates some rather precious liberties which include due process of law and religious freedom. The proposal violates the former because guilt is presumed and the accused is required to go to the expense and trouble of proving innocence. That is backwards. If a school discriminates on the basis of race, those wronged can provide the basis for a legitimate determination of guilt. This illegal procedure is the type of tool tyrannical government can use to intimidate according to whin. For example, as the performance of Christian school students increasingly embarrasses those responsible for the increasing failure of the statist schools to graduate students of academic competence, the already increasing efforts of some governmental officials to eliminate the competition could reach a fever pitch. The NEA is already in a state of panic, and is collecting as many political debts as possible. The IRS has great potential in the hands of tyrants. We must be vigilant to insure that government agencies do not violate due process of law.
Similarly, we must insure that government does not violate the First and Fourteenth Amendment protection of religious freedom. The power to tax is clearly the power to control and even kill. That is the whole basis of the concept of tax exemption. Thus, the Federal Government cannot tax the State of Florida and vice versa, and neither can tax the religious associations and functions of their citizens. RBCS was founded because of our religious conviction that we must raise our children in accordance with Biblical principles. The secular schools, based upon the religious principles of Secular Humanism, cannot help Christian parents raise up their children to love God with all heart, mind, soul, and strength. The religious presuppositions of Secular Humanism are antithetical to those of Biblical Christianity. One of the main reasons that many of our founding fathers fled Europe was the religious oppression due to the establishment of state religions by various goverrunents. One of the main concerns of the drafters of our precious Constitution was the protection of religious freedom. Sinful man has a natural tendency to oppress others who think differently. It is possible that religious Secular Humanists may gain complete control of our governmental machinery and use it to destroy the ability of Theists to freely practice their religion. I fear we are heading in that direction. I do not know what faith you hold to, Mr. Kurtz, but our Constitution was designed to protect your freedom to hold and practice that faith. Such freedom is rare on the face of the earth. Most people do not have this freedom; America is in danger of losing it. If the secular state is used to eliminate Christian education, the power to tax will undoubtedly be one of the weapons used. I pray that you do not want that to happen.
Usually, attemts to destroy freedom are disguised as noble attenpts to protect it. The issue here is not freedom from arbitrary discrimination. The issue here is control over education, an inherently religious enterprise. I ask you to reverse the dangerous direction of current IRS policy by withdrawing the proposed procedures. Will you do that Mr. Kurtz? I await your reply with great expectations.
In Christ's Service,
Robert L. Grete,
41-269 O - 85 - 52
Rocky Bayou Christian School
2101 NORTH PARTIN DRIVE NICEVILLE, FL 3287
11 April 1979
Mr. Jerome Kurtz, Comunissioner
I have carefully reviewed the revised Procedure on Private Tax-exempt Schools published in the 13 Pebruary 1979 Federal Register and partially corrected in the 26 Pebruary 1979 Federal Register. Although RBCS meets your ethnic minority quotas and therefore would fit the criteria for neither a "discriminatoryo nor "reviewable school, I add my voice to those of hundreds of thousands of Americans concerned about the extent to which big government has extended its social engineering into the family life of our citizens. Your revision of the Procedures failed to remove their repugnance to our Constitutional liberties.
The issue is not racial discrimination; RBCS finds racial discrimination contrary to Biblical principles. The issue is whether our freedom to raise and educate our children according to Biblical principles will be trampled upon by bureaucracies such as yours. The First Amendment to the u.s. constitution was designed to prevent government entanglement in religious affairs. Yet we find that government has violated the Amendment's Establishment clause by establishing in the government school system the religious presuppositions and practicing faith of Secular Humanism. The unconstitutional establishment of this anti-Christian futh and practice in the tax-financed government schools has driven many Christian parents to pay tuition, in addition to required school taxes, to enable their children to be educated in accordance with Biblical principles rather than those of Secular Humanism. To so educate our children is a God-given responsibility protected by the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause. Yet we see increasing governmental efforts to deny such liberty. John Dewey and his Humanistic followers have made it clear that they will not be satisfied until all American education is monopolized by those seeking to establish a secular society on a planetary scale. Mr. Kurtz, your organization should not be used as an instrument to eliminate the most precious of our freedoms.
The First Amendment bars the Federal Government from using the tax power or any other power to either establish a state religion or prevent the free exercise of religion. Your proposal violates the Constitutional barrier. Tax exemption is not Federal aid. it is not a benefit to be denied to religious groups not conforming to the Humanistic faith. It is part of the mechanism necessary to guarantee that the tax power cannot be used to inhibit the free exercise of religious 11berty.
Mr. Kurtz, I respectfully request that you withdraw the Proposed Procedures and heed the cry of American citizens --"leave our liberty alone!"
Robert L. Grete
PAL SORTED FIRST CLASS MAIL
NOTICE OF AMOUNT OWED
AND I) PAST OUT
PENALTY SERVICE FILING
Rocky Bayou Christian School
2101 NORTH PARTIN DRIVE NICEVILLE, FL 3287
5 December 1983
Senator Robert Dole
Dear Senator Dole:
I am so thankful that you have agreed to hold hearings on S 2099, which regards what I believe is one of the most serious threats to religious liberty in American history. The change in the Social Security Act, for the first time in American history, authorizes the federal government to directly tax religious ministries to include the church of Jesus Christ.
I have written to four attorneys specializing in First Amendment law. They all agree that the best way to avoid application of this
unconstitutional tax upon religious ministries is for Congress to repeal it before it takes effect. Since Congress needs time to consider it, it is necessary to pass the Jepsen Arzendment: '52099) or a slightly improved version as quickly as possible after it reconvenes. During the delay before implementation Congress needs to thoroughly examine the religious issue in taxation and repeal the tax on religious ministries. If this is not done I fear many of us will be in expensive litigation.
There is one deficiency that I see in the current language of the Jepsen Amendment. The final section says, "For purposes of this section a charitable or educational organization which is affiliated with a religious organization shall be considered to be a religious organization." I believe such language is included to insure that parochial schools are covered by the implementation delay. While such a purpose is clearly right, it ignores the fact that many Christian schools (approximately 30%) having the same religious ministry as schools organized under a local church or denomination are independently organized. Such schools are called Category III Schools. The danger of faulty legislative language is illustrated in the court cases involving application of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) to religious schools. When Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall unilaterally decided to include religious schools under the FUTA system, court cases sprang up all over America. In the St. Martin's case, the Supreme Court determined that the language of FUTA exempted schools operated by a church or convention or association of churches. The court went on to distinguish between church schools integrated into a church's structure and those separately incorporated. In footnote #12 it states, "The importance of this distinction...is heightened by the great diversity in church structure and organization anong religious groups in this country. ... This diversity makes it impossible, as Congress perceived, to lay down a single rule to govern all church related organizations. Our holding today concerns only schools that have no legal identity separate from a church. To establish exemption from FUTA, a separately incorporated church school (or other organization) must satisfy the requirements of Section 3309(b)(1)(B)...we leave the issue of coverage under 3309(b)(1)(B) for the future." A serious consequence results from distinguishing between religious schools organized as part of a church and those that are not, even though they have the same religious mission. Following the St. Martin decision, the government continued to attempt to apply FUTA to separately incorporated or independent (Category III) religious schools. This meant that litigation on behalf of Category III Schools had to continue. In the Grace Brethren case, which went to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court remanded the case on the grounds that the case should have proceeded to the Supreme Court through the state court system rather than the federal court system. Since the Salem Academy case had already been proceeding in Oregon through the state courts, the Grace Brethren case has been dropped and efforts have been concentrated in the Salem Academy case. For Rocky Bayou Christian School, an independent Christian school in Florida, state officials have gotten to the point where they wish to serve a tax lien on our property. This action is presently on a hold pending resolution of the Salem Academy case. All of this litigation and hassle would be unnecessary if the language of the law simply recognized that religious ministries, because