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Date: Sat, 01 Feb 1997 18:20:24 -0800
Embassy of Heaven evicted in tax case
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From: The Oregonian, Saturday,
February 1, 1997, page D1
By: Cheryl Martinis, Correspondent, The Oregonian
|Pastor Paul Revere, arrested and charged with obstruction, says Marion County property is part of a separate nation|
SALEM -- Sheriff's deputies arrested Pastor Paul Revere on Friday and evicted his family and a few others from Heaven -- as members of the Embassy of Heaven Church called their place in the woods of southern Marion County.
Deputies broke a glass patio door to gain entry after Revere refused to open the door. The eviction was otherwise uneventful, Deputy Tim Steele of Marion County said.
About 15 deputies participated in the 8 a.m. action, he said. After Revere and two men were arrested, and several people voluntarily left the 34 acres near Sublimity, contract movers hauled the possessions to storage.
Marion County seized the property because Revere and his wife, Rachel, declined to pay $16,000 in back property taxes. Revere, founder of the Embassy of Heaven Church, said no taxes were owed because the property was part of a ministry and a separate nation. The Embassy of Heaven Church issues its own Heaven license plates and passports.
In 1990, Marion County denied the Embassy of Heaven Church's application for tax-exempt status and warned the Reveres that they would be evicted if they didn't pay the money owed.
Revere was charged Friday with a misdemeanor count of obstruction of governmental administration for not leaving the property voluntarily.
Two other men were arrested on the same charge. One, who would not give his name, is thought to be Abraham, a longtime staff member. The other identified himself as Christian Livingstone, Steele said.
They were expected to spend the weekend in jail pending arraignment Tuesday on the obstruction charges.
All three were taken to Marion County Correctional Facility, where they resisted having photographs and fingerprints taken and refused to give information that probably would have brought their release.
"In other words, they're not cooperating with our process," Sgt. Gene Corey said.
Revere, when jailed in the past for driving without a valid license, declined to recognize the state's authority or to defend himself. In 1994, he fasted 11 days in jail before officials, fearing for his health, released him.
The jail booked Revere, a former state computer systems analyst, under his birth name of Craig Douglas Fleshman. He has said he took the "God-given" name of Revere in 1995.
Revere and his family lived in a wood cabin on the Embassy of Heaven Church property.
The church missed a Nov. 6 deadline to pay the back property taxes. The county then notified the Embassy of Heaven that it had 30 days to leave.
The eviction was delayed when a group called United Christian Ministries filed a religious discrimination lawsuit in U.S. District Court.
A federal judge recently declined to issue a temporary restraining order to keep the county from seizing the property. The county has asked that the lawsuit be dismissed.
The county will sell the acreage and use the proceeds to pay the bills. The Internal Revenue Service also has liens against the property.
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The Doty's wrote:
Re: Embassy of Heaven Church Seizure arrest of Pastor Revere On the morning of January 31, 1997 Marion Sheriff's deputies served a court Ordered Writ of Assistance at the Embassy of Heaven Church property. A copy of the Writ was posted at the property and possession was transferred to the Marion County, a political subdivision of the State of Oregon. All persons and property of those persons found at the property were removed and told not to return to the property.
Entrance was gained as sheriffs deputies pried open the sliding glass door and came into the church with dogs. Pastor Paul Revere was arrested for Obstructing Government Administration.
Abraham, a worker at the church was also arrested and was carried out of the building. Arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday February 4, 1997.
The pastor's wife, Rachel Revere, was not arrested but the county threatened to take the Revere's daughters, Brooke and Skye, into custody over the objections of Mrs. Revere.
Mrs. Revere and the girls were forced to leave the church and parsonage without any of their belongings.
The church telephones are being answered by the Sheriff's deputy and a command post with motor homes, armored personnel carriers, and conventional police vehicles are on the premises.
Any further information regarding the circumstances of this Court Order may be answered by the Marion County Board of Commissioners at (503) 588-5212.
You may remember how this all started -- The church body assumes the position that they Serve a Higher Authority. They believe they have the right to occupy the church and the land it is built upon by Divine right granted by the King of kings. The members of the Embassy of Heaven Church believe their objective is to come out from among the governments of the world and bring forth the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven.
Article I of the Bill of Rights states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...."
Carol Fischer, Marion County Public Affairs Director appeared on an America Today radio program on November 11, 1996. During this interview, as a spokesman for the county, she stated that each church must ask individually for an exemption and go through "a series of steps, as required by Oregon State law, to achieve that tax exempt status. It starts with getting federal paperwork from the Internal Revenue Service that declares the organization is indeed a 'not for Profit' organization. It works from there to include things like by-laws and articles of incorporation. All those pieces must be in place and then it is filed in addition with an application to the county tax assessor. The property, if the paperwork is found to meet all the standards is removed from the tax roll. But only if these standards are met."
The Embassy of Heaven Church asserts that they were never requested to meet such standards. Nor do they believe the church is required to meet the standards the state has specified. They uphold the principle that the Church is under no authority but God's and does not need permission or exemption from the state to carry out the work given them by Him.
Please keep this situation before the Lord in prayer. This is yet another example of a jealous and tyrannical government posing as god. Situations like this are allowed to develop when good people do nothing... let them know we are watching them so that no one is harmed.
Ralph Johnson Adds:
Some of the details of the church takeover in Sublimity Oregon is available at my website http://www.eskimo.com/~ralphj
Pass the word around. I'll keep posting new developments as they occur.
The Truth will set you free!
But first you must accept it and apply it to your life.
"May Yahweh be your strength, shield and song" "HalleluYahweh"
Carl Klang, Music Ministries http://www.klang.com
"God armeth the Patriot"
Sir William Wallace
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