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East St. Louis Pastors and Mayor in First Amendment Standoff

posted on April 16, 2013

Tim Townsend of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on the division between East St. Louis pastors and the City Council over Item 8E, “‘an annual registration fee’ that the city imposed on churches and nonprofits last January.” Houses of worship and nonprofits are typically tax exempt, and pastors are arguing that the fee violates that status. The Rev. Rick Jackson of Greater St. Luke AME church told Townsend: “A church is a collection of believers who happen to worship in a building, and all those citizens already paid taxes.” He continued, “When you start to encroach on religious freedom by charging for something the law says you should already be doing, that’s a slippery slope. What’s next?”


Read at St. Louis Post-Dispatch