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-Florida: City Trying to Force Churches to Get a Business License

by Dr. D ~ March 6th, 2015

common-ground-church

(Common Ground Church/Facebook)

A city in Florida is trying to force churches to get a business license. In one case the city government even sent a worker to spy on the church and has threatened to impose fines of $500 a day. Here’s the story from Charisma:

Liberty Counsel sent a letter to the City of Lake Worth demanding it retract its baseless position that all local churches—some in the community for nearly 100 years—now obtain "business licenses" to continue operating, and for its harassment of newly established Common Ground Church.

The City has threatened Common Ground’s landlord with daily fines up to $500 and foreclosure if the "violation" is not corrected by the landlord making the church get a "business license" to meet for worship.  Liberty Counsel has demanded that the City drop its plan to have churches obtain business licenses, refund the business license taxes already paid and retract its threat to Common Ground church and its landlord.

The City sent an employee to spy on Common Ground and record its worship activities.

<Read the whole article>

Response: In this diabolical case, the city officials are ignoring their own city ordinance that designates churches and non-profits as not needing business licenses. The worst part is the relentless actions of the city bureaucrats in this case. There is no telling how many churches actually ended up paying for licenses to get them off their backs. Obviously quite a few judging from their response to this one church which refused.

Most city governments are short of funding around the country and city leaders are looking for new ways to expand their revenue. Churches are increasingly becoming targets. Look for similar actions against churches in your area. It doesn’t seem to matter to some that these types of actions are unconstitutional. We are now living in ‘lawless’ times starting from the top.

Most of the time cities are now forcing churches to come up with a number of different fees usually in connection with property zoning and inspections for occupancy and fire requirements. Some cities have also declined to allow churches to occupy buildings in business areas since it potentially decreases the opportunity for sales tax revenue.

In many communities around America, particularly on the east and west coasts, churches are having a difficult time finding property and facilities to rent in the meantime.

Here in south Orange County, California that is a major problem. Many of the communities were ‘planned’ with very few lots officially designated as potential church properties which were quickly bought up by major mainline denominations. Consequently the vast majority of churches here are meeting in schools and warehouses with no real prospects for eventually buying property and building a church. In a few cases churches have bought land but have had difficulty getting it properly zoned and approved for building.            *Top

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4 Responses to -Florida: City Trying to Force Churches to Get a Business License

  1. Brian

    Background on this Florida community – the vice mayor gave some sort of atheist invocation to the city council. And, apparently, the community is viewed as “diverse” and “LGBT friendly”. You can draw conclusions from that concerning what is really happening there.

  2. Dr. D

    Thanks Brian, that info makes sense. We are seeing government officials all around the country taking actions against churches. Usually they have an agenda like the mayor of Houston, Texas. Most have secular or atheist world views and hidden anti-Christian agendas. We had one city bureaucrat try to shut down all the home Bible study groups in one so. Orange Co. city near here. Unfortunately I believe that this is just the beginning and it will be necessary for Christians to begin standing up for one another or we will be picked off one by one.

  3. Brian

    One more thought on this topic: Everyone has heard of the letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802 to the Danbury (CT) Baptist Association. But few are familiar with the 1801 letter to Jefferson, to which Jefferson was responding. What was it that upset the Baptists in Connecticut to such a degree that they wrote the President of the United States for assistance? Well, among other things, the State of Connecticut was only allowing Baptist preachers to preach if they were licensed – – and the Danbury Baptists observed that any government that has the power to license a minister also has the power to deny a license to a minister. Thus, if this town in Florida, or any other community, establishes the legal precedent that it can license a minister/church, it is also establishing a legal basis to bar ministers and churches from the community.

    Brian

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