Indianapolis Baptist Temple became a "cause celebre" for the radical right

April 16, 2002
By Rick Ross

Militia members were expected to protest after a hearing (Summer 2000) regarding the tax violations of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple. Church leaders hoped for a big turn-out even though it was August.

The church's fight with the IRS once generated interest amongst the radical right, which includes the so-called "Patriot" movement. James "Bo" Gritz, a popular personality within that movement, spoke against the IRS.

Nevertheless, U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker held the hearing on August 23, 2000 regarding the $6 million judgment against the church for unpaid employee withholding taxes, penalties and interest.

The Justice Department asked for receivers to sell the church buildings to pay their bill. But the temple's leader Rev. Greg A. Dixon said, "We will not allow someone to come in and steal God's property from the people. They're going to have to take it. We're not going to turn over the keys." Later Dixon promised there would be "No weapons. No uniforms. No violence."

A rally was seen as a possible rehearsal for a showdown. It all began in 1984, when Dixon's father, Greg J. Dixon, said his church was somehow "unregulated" and stopped paying payroll taxes.

The elder Dixon was once a director of Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority," but later joined the far right Christian Patriot movement.

The Patriot movement claims various conspiracy theories such as a coming "one-world government" and views the American federal government itself as often evil and/or conspiratorial. The younger Dixon saw his church as right and others as wrong. He said, "It doesn't matter what major religious-right group you want to name. They have allowed themselves to be controlled. That's why, on January 1st, 1984, we voluntarily untangled ourselves."

The church eventually even claimed that people who worked there were "self-employed ministers" and thus not required to have withholding taxes. Dixon said, "The government is going to come and shut down the church not because church taxes weren't paid, but because of how the church taxes were paid."

Norman Olson, a notorious militia leader from Michigan said he expected some militia members to attend the rally. "I've talked to militias around the country" Olson said.

The 19 militias in the Southern Indiana Regional Militia claimed they would "wait-and-see," said Roger Stalcup, the group's "brigadier general."

But tax protestors have often become violent.

In 1983, two federal marshals were killed by Gordon Kahl, a convicted tax protester and a member of the right-wing Posse Comitatus. Kahl later died during a 36-hour gunbattle with authorities. The so-called "Christian Identity" movement and a group named "The Order," have been linked to violence and/or threats of violence.

The Indianapolis Baptist Temple appealed its tax judgment to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But the three-judge panel ruled against the church on August 14, 2000. They still were obligated to pay their share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, like any other employer.

Despite this legal defeat and the obvious laws that require employers to pay their taxes, on the Internet the Indianapolis Baptist Temple became briefly the "cause celebre of the month," at least amongst right-wing extremists.

Notes: This article is based upon "Church's rally has right-wing support" Indianapolis Star / August 23, 2000 By Terry Horne

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.