An Open Letter Response
to the advisory board meeting of the MWCD
at the Marlite Conference Center,
New Philadelphia, Ohio April 28, 2006
Mr. John Hoopingarner,
Having attended Friday's MWCD advisory board meeting I would like to ask for your consideration on the issue of the "taxation" assessment of churches.
During the meeting you gave report of the progress of the MWCD assessment. A key section of the report and discussion focused on the issue of the assessment of schools and churches.
We believe that both historically and Biblically the church exists by God's authority separate from the existence of the State. Church and State have both been ordained by God as separate entities and neither one should control the other. That belief is well grounded and documented in the history of the United States. There are historic reasons why the State of Ohio specifically exempts "houses of worship" from property taxation.
MWCD is a political subdivision of the state of Ohio. As a part of the State MWCD ought not to be taxing the churches to gain money that will be used for public welfare projects. No amount of legal maneuvering with the word "assessment" gets around this issue.
Due to our strong convictions on this issue, a coalition of pastors from almost all of the eighteen counties have addressed numerous Judges, State Senators, State Representatives, the President of the Senate, other Pastors, Denominational leaders, Camp directors and Ministry leaders. We have taken our case to Columbus and will continue to do so.
We had originally hoped that the MWCD board of directors would voluntarily respect the churches. However, we have come to the conviction that this issue must be settled at the State level.
To be quite honest with you, we are gearing up to a push that will involve hundreds and hundreds of churches and statewide radio publicity to this matter. Eagle Forum addressed this issue with statewide leaders at a conference today. It will become the number one topic in certain public meetings in Columbus this month.
I write these things to you now because we really don't want to be pushed into the corner of making such huge public issue of this matter and I'm sure you really don't want that either.
Our hope would be that you would follow through with the statements you made Friday about working with the State Senators and Representatives to pass a bill that would settle the issues of churches, schools, charities and others.
The decision to assess churches and schools has given the MWCD an extremely negative image in the eyes of the public. I hope that you will work to correct that situation.
Floyd Stanfill, Pastor
Faith Baptist Church
9481 SR 212 NE, Bolivar, Ohio
The following list is a sampling of Pastors and Ministry Leaders who are agreement with this letter.