Identity Quarterly Magazine - Gale
AN OPEN LETTER
TO THE CITIZENS OF
MARIPOSA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST CHURCH
The National Headquarters for the Ministry of Christ Church is Located in Mariposa County. Since this church has been active in exposing the Communists and their fellow travelers and it’s program has been anti-Communist, it has been subjected to smear tactics and false rumors. The position of this church with respect to a strict construction of the Constitution of the United States and its position of upholding, preserving and defending the Constitution and our republican form of government, has also subjected it to smear and vilification. Its teachings of the Christian background of our Constitutional Republic and Christian government has brought opposition from Communist-Oriented individuals and from those who would impose alien and anti-Christian philosophies of government upon our people. It is therefore deemed necessary that this open letter be published. It is presented herewith as a public service.
The pastor of the Ministry of Christ Church, Reverend William P. Gale, is a retired officer of the United States Army. He was born in Minnesota and was raised in the service as an “Army brat”. He enlisted in the regular Army at the age of 16 and remained in the military service until his retirement for reasons of physical disability incurred in combat during World War II. He was the youngest Lt. Colonel in the Army Ground Forces during World War II at the age of 27 and retired at his present rank in 1950 at the age of 33. He served on the War Department General Staff in Washington, D.C. and on the staff of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. He was selected by Gen. MacArthur along with several officers and Gen. Charles P. Stivers to organize the historic guerrilla forces in the Philippine Islands during World War II.
Col. Gale attended the School of Graduate Studies at Yale University as an Army Officer and is a graduate of the major Military Service Schools. He is well versed in Constitutional law, with credentials as a Doctor of Laws. He has been an ordained Christian Minister since 1956 and is organizer and founder of Identity magazine and the Ministry of Christ Church. The Ministry of Christ Church holds its regular weekly Sunday Services at the Masonic Temple in Glendale, California at 10 a.m. every Sunday. All sermons are taped and relayed to congregations of the Church which have been organized all over the United States.
The church facilities in Mariposa County constitute the National Headquarters of the Ministry of Christ Church, for its religious activities and performance of its church functions to coordinate the activities of its nation-wide congregations.
The first problem encountered by the Church in Mariposa County was one of its tax exemption. The Church requested the forms to claim its tax exemption from the County Assessor. The form provided by the Assessor was one where tax exemption is claimed under the provision of Article XIII, Section 1 ½ of the California Constitution. This section of the Constitution was adopted in 1966 to facilitate religious activities in urban areas. It covers situations where buildings, equipment, property, and parking lots related to religious activities are rented to a church by a property owner. Under these circumstances the owner of the property may make application for tax exemption on that property which is rented to a church for religious purposes.
It is emphasized here that the owner of the property makes application, not the church or religious organization. It is understandable that this application would have to be made each year because the tax Assessor would have no other way of knowing from year to year if the property was still being used for tax exempt religious purposes, except that annual application be made by the property owner (not by the church who rents it). The Ministry of Christ Church advised the Tax Assessor that the form which he provided was not the proper form nor was Article XIII, Section 1 ½ the proper section of the California Constitution whereby the church itself claims exemption. The church claims tax exemption under previsions of Article XIII, Section 1 of the California Constitution. (This is prior to section 1 ½). The Assessor had no such form and insisted that the church make its claim under Section 1 ½. The church then filed a written claim for exemption under Article XIII, Section 1, advising as follows:
“The Ministry of Christ Church has been a tax exempt religious body since 1964. Any property acquired by it for religious purposes, since that date is tax exempt under provisions of the Constitution and laws of the United States. Article I, Section 3 of the California Constitution says that the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land. It is by this supreme law of the land that the church is tax exempt. Now comes Article XIII, Section 1 of the California Constitution which reads as follows: ‘All property in the state except as otherwise in this Constitution provided, NOT EXEMPT under the laws of the United States shall be taxed in proportion to its value .:
Simply stated, this means that only property which is NOT EXEMPT can be taxed, and conversely property which IS EXEMPT may NOT be taxed. Since property owned by the Ministry of Christ Church IS EXEMPT under the laws of the United States, there is no Constitutional or lawful authority for a tax to be levied. A more vital principle is involved. This is the obvious theorum that the power to tax is the power to destroy, and this power has never been granted to anyone, not even government, by Almighty God for His Church.
It is the portion of the Ministry of Christ Church that a proper and legal claim for tax exemption on property owned by the church was filed with the Tax Assessor of Mariposa County and included with that claim was a complete memorandum of the law substantiating the constitutional position of tax exemption for the church. Subsequent to that claim the church received a tax statement from the Treasurer-Tax Collector of Mariposa County. It was returned to the Tax Collector requesting that the amount be inserted in the exempt column of the tax bill due to the fact that the claim had been made with the assessor properly for tax exemption. The Tax Collector refused to recognize the claim for tax exemption and a memorandum of law was submitted to the Tax Collector by the church, advising the Tax Collector of the law pertaining to this matter of tax exemption for the church.
Specific reference was made to Article XIII, Section 1 of the Constitution of the State of California, substantiating the exempt status and emphasizing that the property was exempt under the laws of the United States and that there is no lawful or Constitutional authority for the state or county to tax the church. The memorandum of law submitted by the church to the Treasurer-Tax Collector of Mariposa County reads as follows:
The issue in this matter is the fact that the power to tax is the power to destroy. At no time prior to the founding of this republic nor at any time since, has this power been granted to anyone, not even to government, with regard to the church. The booklet titled “Constitution” published by the California Senate (1971) states in its foreword that this volume is designed to acquaint citizens of California with those historical documents upon which the governments of the United States and California were founded. Included as one of these historical documents is “Magna Carta” from which we quote as follows:
“First of all have granted to God, and, for us and for our heirs forever, have confirmed, by this our present charter, that the church shall be free and shall have its rights intact and its liberties uninfringed upon . . . .
Wherefore we will and firmly decree that the church shall be free, and that the subjects of our realm shall have and hold all the aforesaid liberties, rights and concessions, duly and in peace, freely and quietly, fully and entirely, for themselves and their heirs, in all matters and in all places, forever, as has been said.”
The background of freedom of the church was carried forth by the charters granted to the colonies. Christianity motivated the first settlement on this continent. The legal instruments, the charters and the Constitutions are filled with evidence that Jesus Christ was the dynamic that inspired the early settlers, and the laws of the Christian Bible were the controlling factor in the life of the people. In one of the colonial constitutions, Christianity was declared the established religion and in others, the furthering of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ was stated to be one of the purposes of government.
The background of freedom for the church was again carried forward by the Continental Congress of the United States, when in 1787 it adopted the Ordinance of 1787 for the government of the Northwest Territory. This Ordinance prohibits taxation of the church and requires all new states entering the Union to provide the same freedom for the church.
Freedom for the church was again carried forward by the First Amendment to the Constitution of these United States which prohibits Congress from making any law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
The Constitution of the State of California reads in Article III, Section 1 (formerly Article I, Section 3) as follows: “The State of California is an inseparable part of the American Union, and the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.” Then in Article I, Section 4: “The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preferance, shall be forever guaranteed in this state . . . .” Then in Article XIII, Section 1: “All property in this state except as in this Constitution otherwise provided NOT EXEMPT UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES, shall be taxed in proportion to its value . . .” Since the property IS EXEMPT under the organic law of the United States, as well as the state of California, there is no lawful authority for a tax to be levied upon the church.
Taxing the church was held prohibitive by the Supreme Court of the United States (Holy Trinity Church v. the United States, 143, U.S. 471) the date was Feb. 29, 1892. After ruling for the church, the Supreme Court declared the United States to be a Christian nation with the following words: “ . . .and these and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”
Since your oath of office as a public servant is to uphold, preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California, any attempt to impose a tax upon the church is unlawful and is in violation of your oath of Office. Statutes provide that such act is feloneous.
Please be advised that the church property in question is used for religious purposes only. It is not a church recreation area nor a campground project, nor is it a commercial activity of any kind. Your tax statement is therefor enclosed and returned to you for your action to provide for the exemption required by law.
The above memorandum of law was submitted to the Treasurer-Tax Collector of Mariposa County. The tax exemption was subsequently denied by the Assessor and Tax Collector of Mariposa County and the taxes were paid by the church under protest. The next step for the church, to exhaust its administrative remedies, was to present a claim for tax exemption to the Board of Supervisors of Mariposa County. This the church did. The following letter and copy of the claim for tax exemption submitted to the County Tax Assessor and the County Tax Collector were enclosed with the letter to the Board of Supervisors of Mariposa County. The Board of Supervisors was advised of the points of law and that there was a volume of substantive law to support the claim of the church. Since the Supreme Court of the United States declared this to be a Christian nation, it was also noted that a blessing to the church is a blessing to the government, and an enemy of the one is an enemy of the other. It was requested that the Board of Supervisors take the necessary action to provide for the tax exemption of the Ministry of Christ Church as required by the supreme law of the land, The Constitution of the United States as well as the Constitution of the State of California. Representatives of the Ministry of Christ Church appeared before the Board of Supervisors of Mariposa County presenting their claim and the memorandums of law in the matter. They were heard. They departed. Subsequent to their appearance and submission of their request, the County Board of Supervisors did not even give the church the courtesy of a reply. They remained silent. In short, they refused to give the church an answer.
It should be emphasized to the people that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The Ninth and Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, make it clear that the people retain all power in government. The Constitution of the State of California so admits, and that the PEOPLE are the government, (the body politic) and the departments, such as the executive, legislative and judicial are servants of the people, NOT their masters. The Constitution in the First Amendment says THAT CONGRESS MAY PASS NO LAW respecting the establishment of religion and prohibiting the FREE exercise thereof. What does this mean? Let us look at the definition from Webster’s Dictionary of the word “free”: “Not subject to an arbitrary power; independent; enjoying political independence; not subject to some particular authority or obligation; released, as from a tax, duty, etc., released from any onerous condition; not subject to some particular authority or obligation; released, as from a tax, duty, etc., released from any onerous condition; not confined, restrained, or restricted; not observant of conventional or established forms; not subject to the rule or control of another; absence of external compulsion or determination; absence of a superior power and supremacy within a thing’s own domain or sphere.”
It is obvious that the only way that a tax may be imposed upon the church would be for an act of a legislative department of government to impose such tax. That legislative act is commonly referred to as a law, but the Constitution says that NO LAW may be passed prohibiting the free exercise of religion and the Christian religion was the only religion in the minds of these men as recorded in the records of Congress in the adoption of the First Amendment to the Constitution. So we see, that if NO LAW can be passed prohibiting the free exercise of the Christian faith, then NO TAX may be imposed. It is the position of the Ministry of Christ Church that Christian institutions should remain within their sphere and perform their lawful duties as religious institutions, and agrees that where churches or religious bodies participate in commercial activities those commercial activities should be subject to tax.
The Ministry of Christ Church believes and teaches that the Bible contains God’s laws for His people for their nation and their government; and that the people of the Bible are the Christian people of today and particularly the Christian people residing in the United States of America, which is described in the Bible as that New Jerusalem for God’s people - as a new land having a great sea on the east and a great sea on the west, being divided by great rivers and great mountains and having all the brass in the land. A land of milk and honey where the box trees and the fir trees would grow. A great nation who would lend to all and borrow from none, never being defeated in war and having the Most High as its King. Records of our government confirm these facts, as George Washington made this statement when he was to be made the leader of this government. He said: “You may give me no royal title, for this nation already has a king. It is Jesus Christ.”
Further, the documents of our government proclaim why our ancestors came to this land, when they stated, “We came to this new land, to advance the Christian faith and to FORM A GOVERNMENT UNDER HIS LAWS, THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF HOSTS.” Referring to Jesus Christ as the God of this nation.
The Ministry of Christ Church further believes and teaches that the function of the Christian church, a primary function, is to teach the laws of God to his people. This is expounded by Jesus Christ himself when he told His disciples to teach the gospel of the Kingdom. When we look the word “kingdom” up in the dictionary we find that it means: “administration, rule, and GOVERNMENT.” It is therefore the function and duty of the disciples of Jesus Christ to teach the law of God for a Christian government. This the Ministry of Christ Church believes and does.
Therefore, for the advancement of this mission, this open letter will now include some of the facts of law that were presented to the Board of Supervisors, and the Tax Assessor and the Tax Collector of Mariposa County in support of the position that Jesus Christ and His representatives in the Christian Church may not be taxed. Even though some may say that Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” they forget the last part of that saying. And it must be repeated here, when Jesus said, “Render unto God what is God’s.” The church belongs to God and God may not be taxed. So we now include the following points of law which we feel that Christian citizens should be made aware of.
“The rule is that an unconstitutional statute (act of legislature) though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it; an unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed . . .an unconstitutional law is VOID . . . it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection and justifies no act performed under it. . .an unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede an existing valid law. . .an unconstitutional statute (act of legislature) cannot repeal or in any way affect an existing valid one. . . .
The general principle stated above applies to the constitutions as well as to the laws of the several states insofar as they are repugnant to the Constitution of the United States. Moreover, a construction of a statute which brings it in conflict with the constitution will nullify it as effectually as if it had, in express terms, been enacted in conflict therewith (16 Am.Jur. 2nd, Sec. 178, Constitutional Law). Daniel Webster, James Otis, and Sir Edward Coke all pointed out that the mere fact of enactment does not and cannot raise statutes to the standing of LAW. “Not everything which may pass under the form of statutory enactment can be considered the law of the land.”(16 Am.Jur. 2nd, Sec. 547). “Law repugnant to the Constitution is VOID.”(U.W. Sup. Ct. Marbury v. Madison, 1903, 2L. Ed. 60; 1 Cra. 137; ref. 6 Wheat 264 : 158 Wall 601). . .”An act of the legislature, for I cannot call it law, -- contrary to the first great principles of the social compact (the Constitution) CANNOT be considered a rightful exercise of legislative authority. . .”(Justice Samuel Chase, Calder v Bull - 1798). . .”An unconstitutional statute though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly null and void and ineffective for any purpose. It imposes no duty, it confers no rights, it creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, it affords no protection and justifies no act performed under it. No-one is bound to obey an unconstitutional statute ad no courts are bound to enforce it.”(16 Am.Jur. 2nd, Sec. 177, Constitutional Law).
The general rule is that an unconstitutional act of a legislature protects no one. It is said that all persons are presumed to know the law, meaning that ignorance of the law excuses no one; if any person acts under an unconstitutional statute he does so at his own peril and must take the consequences (Am.Jur. 2nd, Sec. 178, Constitutional Law).
Since the Communist Constitution of the Soviet Union provides for complete control by the state over the church, and provides for taxing the church - but the Constitution of the United States prohibits the very same, - the question may be asked, “Which Constitution does the Board of Supervisors of Mariposa County, the Tax Assessor and the Tax Collector and possibly even the legislature of California support? The Communist Constitution of the Soviet Union which provides for state control of the church - or the Constitution of the United States, which prohibits the same? This question they must answer.
There may be those who disagree with the position and the teachings of the Ministry of Christ Church. As Christians we grant them this right to disagree, but we do not grant them the right to destroy. Those who disagree should not attend the services of this church. Those Christians, regardless of their denomination, who have a sincere desire to learn the truth of the Bible, their true identity, and the identity of their God, are welcome. Our services are at 1 p.m., Sundays, on Usona Road. The sign Ministry of Christ Church National Headquarters, is at the gate.
THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST CHURCH
MARIPOSA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
This location is no longer owned by the Ministry of Christ Church