The Thick Plottens

The campaign of “diversity cleansing” continues. The two women who filed tax exemption complaints last year against Christ Church and New St. Andrews College have now followed up with similar tax complaints against Logos School and the ministry of Community Christian Ministries (CCM) at the Nuart theater. The complaints now go before the county commissioners who (acting as the board of adjusters) will make their determination in June.

Last year, the decision went against Christ Church and New St. Andrews. We appealed, and after a bunch of months, the three member board down in southern Idaho handed the whole thing back to us, having refused to make a decision. This happened because two of the three member board recused themselves because they had been “subjected” to information that meant they could not now hear the case in an unbiased manner. What on earth? What information?

This means that we now have to appeal the original decision against us via another route, and since so much time has gone by, the commissioners now have to make a decision for the coming year about Christ Church and New St. Andrews again without any direction from the state board.

Into this mix come the most recent complaints, now against Logos School and the Nuart. There are two points that need to be made in this regard, and everyone who is following this case with the interest it deserves needs to fix these two points firmly in their minds.

1. The grounds for deciding against Christ Church and New St. Andrews do apply equally to Logos School and the Nuart. But this is not because these two entities are behaving badly, or doing anything nefarious. Those grounds apply because they apply to virtually every non-profit entity in our town. The “exclusive use” requirement that was said to apply to CC and NSA means that no non-profit entity can receive any outside income whatever (rental space, time use, etc), even if that income comes from other non-profit entities. This means that, say, if the Methodist Church rents to Weight Watchers, or if a church rents to a day-care center, or if the Unitarian Church rents to Young Republicans, or a church rents out their sanctuary for weddings, an equitable application of the law as it now stands requires that they must have their tax exempt status revoked. Note that phrase equitable application. And this leads to my second point.

2. What do the four entities singled out thus far all have in common? The answer is simple–as Miss Piggy would put it, moi. I sit on the board of New St. Andrews, I am one of the elders of Christ Church, I am on the board of Logos School, and I serve on the board of CCM. (N.B. I sit on these boards; I do not run them. And in what I am saying here, I am speaking for myself alone.) This whole thing is not a concern at all about the general principles of tax exemption. This is an agenda-driven affair, stem to stern, front to back. Four entities in a row, and surprise! they all are related to me. “No, no,” they clamor, “it is the principle of the thing.” Sure, okay. Four in a row, and no non-profits involved that are entirely unrelated to me? The Intoleristas, in the name of their jackbooted diversity (motto: Diversity Until We Get Some!), are filing their complaints in a highly selective and surgical manner. This is only to be expected–they are troubled people, and in a reasonable world, the best thing to do would be to simply ignore them.

But the problem here is that they are not just venting their spleen selectively and privately–they are demanding that Latah County to do their dirty work for them. And so this is now the set up. If the commissioners decide against Logos and the Nuart, and if they do not immediately apply the results of their decision equally to all other non-profits in Latah County, the commissioners are obviously and self-evidently applying the law in a highly selective and discriminatory fashion. In other words, they will in effect be saying, “The ‘exclusive use’ requirement in the law applies to all non-profits within our jurisdiction that have any direct or indirect relation to Douglas Wilson, and to no others.” This selective and discriminatory enforcement of the law is being done in such a way as to make the legal machinery of Latah County into a cats paw for those who have an ideological grievance against conservative Christians. Given the obvious nature of what is going on here, I am actually astonished that ACLU lawyers have not been clustering around, offering to work pro bono.

The best way to get rid of a bad law, or a bad interpretation of the law, is to enforce it rigorously. Unless they reverse their decision of last year, that is what our commissioners must now do. They have to apply this ruling of theirs across the board, to every entity under their jurisdiction that fits this description. The only alternative to this would be to allow themselves to continue be used as an instrument of harassment of all institutions that are still willing to have anything to do with me, or my unacceptable opinions. And, I have to say, if they really want to go that direction, it would suit me down to the nines. Throw me in that briar patch.

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