No Separation of Church and State in Tennessee (May 1, 2013)
A few years ago, Christ Church in Nashville was looking for ways to share the gospel on its property. So it built a bookstore and adjacent cafe along with a recreational facility, and opened them to the public.
But Davidson County claimed the church owed it property taxes for the bookstore and recreational facility. Recently, the state Court of Appeals upheld the tax, ruling that the church’s operation of the bookstore/café and recreational facility was “not reasonably necessary” to accomplish its mission.
When the state decides what is or is not needed to accomplish the church’s mission, the state has put itself over the church. And the ramifications of government deciding what is reasonably necessary for the church to fulfill its core mission on its own property go far beyond a cup of java.
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Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, No Separation of Church and State in Tennessee