City of San Rafael imposes illegal tax on church
Churches in America, constitutionally, must remain tax exempt. In the early days of the Supreme Court (1819), Chief Justice John Marshall stated: "the power to tax involves the power to destroy."
However, the City of San Rafael in California has decided that the separation of church and state is not important and has imposed an unconstitutional tax on Valley Baptist Church. Under this tax, Valley Baptist is now “responsible” to pay $13,000 dollars to the city. This tax is not being imposed on other tax-exempt bodies –so why is the city imposing this tax on the church?
Please sign this petition to the City of San Rafael asking them to remove this illegal and harmful tax from the church.
Under the California State Constitution, churches, schools and other religious institutions are exempt from property taxes.
This makes sense for two reasons. One, churches provide huge social benefits to the community from caring for the needy to keeping families grounded and healthy. As Focus on the Family notes that one Pennsylvania researcher, who describes himself as "nonreligious” found that “the average urban church in Philadelphia provides over $476,663 worth of services annually.” And that’s an average church.
Second, keeping churches tax exempt removes the temptation from the government to interfere with the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment. (Focus on the Family) In 1970, the U.S. Supreme Court held that property tax exemptions for churches were in keeping with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. (Walz v. Tax Commission)
Valley Baptist Church should be free to serve the community as it was intended to. This illegal tax is getting in the way. The City of San Rafael must follow the laws of the land and remove this harmful and illegitimate tax.