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Thread: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

  1. #1
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    Default Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Seems to me, the ONLY building in a town that should not pay property taxes are town buildings.

    One could make an argument that no government building should pay property taxes, and I'd not argue enthusiastically.

    But churches are NOT part of our government at any level, and, in my view, the concept of separation of church and state would demand they not get a free ride.
    How do we form a mutiny? Our new captain is navigating poorly.

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Lots of organisations are tax exempt. Are they part of government as well? Why pick on churches?
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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    John...are you saying that all non-profit organizations may be construed as being a part of government? Why do you single out the churches?

    You might want to think this through.
    Steve Martinsen

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    This has been trashed over and over again here in the bilge. Houses of worship don't pay taxes and never will.
    Get over it.
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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Lots of organisations are tax exempt. Are they part of government as well? Why pick on churches?
    I'd make the argument that only government buildings should be exempt from property taxes.

    Red Cross had a building in Montclair. To my knowledge, they paid property taxes. We had several non profit agencies, not religious, who rented space in office buildings. They got no break on the rent, and the building paid property taxes.

    Those organizations got discounted rates for bulk mailings, but not for first class or packages.

    I'm simply referring in this thread to property taxes. I should note that at a town meeting, I asked why they get a free ride. A mayor, 8 councilmen, the city attorney, and the town clerk, DID NOT KNOW. Montclair had, at the time, 58 churches, most of which were on fairly large chunks of land. If they pay none, the rest of us pay more, which means we were all subsidizing the churches.

    Why should any non government building be free from property taxes?
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    Why should any non government building be free from property taxes?

    Because the benefit the community receives from the tax free organization equals or exceeds the benefits that could be paid for with tax dollars.

    Kevin




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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Because the benefit the community receives from the tax free organization equals or exceeds the benefits that could be paid for with tax dollars.

    Kevin




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    Do you mean that properties owned by Churches mysteriously add to a community by not being taxed. How about properties that make money for the church? Rental properties?

    I claim that properties that are used 100% for religious activities should be tax free. Everything else should be seen as if it is owned and taxed like all my stuff.

    I bristle with anger when I know that my taxes are being sent to a local charter school that propagandizes students with religion in direct conflict with the US Constitution.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post

    Why should any non government building be free from property taxes?
    Because a duly elected government decides that it is appropriate.
    For example, one Council's web site:
    Business rate relief for charities and not-for-profit organisations

    Charities and not-for-profit organisations can get up to a 100 per cent reduction in their business rates.

    Mandatory rate relief for charities

    Relief available

    Organisations that are recognised as charities for UK tax purposes can claim 80 per cent relief from the business rates if:

    • The charity (or trustees of the charity) is the rate payer, and
    • The charity uses the property wholly, or mainly, for charitable purposes

    If the property is unoccupied, the intention must be to use it for charitable purposes.
    For charity shops, the charity must use the property wholly or mainly to sell goods donated to it. It must also use the net proceeds for the purposes of the charity.
    <snip>

    Mandatory rate relief for community amateur sports clubs

    We treat sports clubs, which have registered for community amateur sports club (CASC) status with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, in a similar way to registered charities and will give them 80 per cent mandatory relief if:

    • The club is the rate payer, and
    • The club uses the property wholly, or mainly, for purposes of the club or other registered clubs

    If the property is unoccupied, the intention must be to use it for the club or other registered clubs.
    View more information about Community amateur sports clubs.
    Discretionary rate relief

    Any organisation that qualifies for 80 per cent mandatory rate relief may also apply for discretionary relief for all or part of the remaining 20 per cent of its bill.
    https://www.rushmoor.gov.uk/article/...-organisations
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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    A SCOTUS judge back in 1819 said that the 'the power to tax involves the power to destroy.'
    Exempting houses of worship from taxes keeps the government from interfering with freedom of religion. It keeps the separation of church and state safe.
    Supreme Court in 1970 upheld this.
    For those that don't agree, too bad.
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    Tom, Rich... John framed his question around " any building," getting tax free status, not just Churches.

    Kevin


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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    We've had this argument time and again. Churches, places of worship, should be tax free. But only the place of worship, a quantifiable square footage and within a sliding scale of individual buildings within a given population density. For instance. A Christian book store owned by the church in town should not be a tax exempt business unless it's run and physically placed within the walls of the initial place of worship. There are mathy ways to make this work. And, of course, no institution caught preaching about politics past the pulpit should be allowed to maintain it's exempt status.
    Last edited by McMike; 05-30-2020 at 07:58 AM.
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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Because the benefit the community receives from the tax free organization equals or exceeds the benefits that could be paid for with tax dollars.

    Kevin
    That's a very subjective application. As a tax payer, I don't see the benefit of having any organized religion as having a net positive effect on anything. So are you saying that if I were an assessor that I would be able to apply my views of value?
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Tom, Rich... John framed his question around " any building," getting tax free status, not just Churches.

    Kevin


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    We know that Kevin and it was part of the argument.

    Rich's argument is correct and shows how the few control the rest of us. I am taxed and therefore the government controls me? Interpretation of "house of worship" is the root source of the taxing issue.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    Do you mean that properties owned by Churches mysteriously add to a community by not being taxed. How about properties that make money for the church? Rental properties?

    I claim that properties that are used 100% for religious activities should be tax free. Everything else should be seen as if it is owned and taxed like all my stuff.

    I bristle with anger when I know that my taxes are being sent to a local charter school that propagandizes students with religion in direct conflict with the US Constitution.
    Most churches that I know of are set up as non-profits. If they have rental properties but don't show a profit, why pay taxes?
    I've been on the governing boards of the churches I've belonged to for my entire adult life starting at age 22. Believe me, they were always hanging on by a thin thread financially, now more then ever. My current church has a large parish hall that we constantly allow outside groups to use for the community good.
    AA being one prime example. By their own charter, they must pay a very small fee to whomever they use space from, but it comes no where near the true cost of operating the building while they are there. We also have luncheons for the poor where up to 100 people get a hot meal instead of going hunger.
    Our allowing outside groups to use our space comes out of the churches' pocket, out of the pockets of faithful parishioners because this is what we were called by Jesus Christ to do and we do it joyfully. We are doing the work that needs being done in our society, taking the burden off government to do the same.
    Not you, Tom, since you support tax free churches, but I'm a little fed up with the church haters on the forum.


    I'm a little prickly this morning. My dear mother, one of the finest Christians to ever bless this earth, is lying in the ICU, barely clinging to life.
    Last edited by Rich Jones; 05-30-2020 at 08:05 AM.
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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Tom, Rich... John framed his question around " any building," getting tax free status, not just Churches.

    Kevin


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    True, but the last sentence specifically targets churches.
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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by McMike View Post
    no institution caught preaching about politics past the pulpit should be allowed to maintain it's exempt status.
    This I don't get, and it runs counter to our practice.
    A church's duty is the pastoral care of its flock, so there will always be occasions when the church should preach against a harmful policy or political event.
    ANGRY bishops have accused the Prime Minister of lying and undermining trust, after he expressed support for his senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, who travelled from London to County Durham during the lockdown. The Bishop of Manchester has called for Mr Cummings to be sacked.
    https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articl...st-say-bishops
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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    This I don't get, and it runs counter to our practice.
    A church's duty is the pastoral care of its flock, so there will always be occasions when the church should preach against a harmful policy or political event.
    https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articl...st-say-bishops
    It gets too messy when the act swings towards influencing the state to match it's policy with any given theology. Think the Taliban. And, because we've seen, in the US particularly, that certain religious groups are able to influence our government unfairly, It can't stand.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by McMike View Post
    It gets too messy when the act swings towards influencing the state to match it's policy with any given theology. Think the Taliban. And, because we've seen, in the US particularly, that certain religious groups are able to influence our government unfairly, It can't stand.
    Yep, as this forum has demonstrated, some of your elected representatives and elected public servants would luuurve to have the power held by the Taliban.
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    Quote Originally Posted by McMike View Post
    That's a very subjective application. As a tax payer, I don't see the benefit of having any organized religion as having a net positive effect on anything. So are you saying that if I were an assessor that I would be able to apply my views of value?


    I would say it would be applied by statutory formula and criteria, not via an auditors judgement and discretion

    As to the part about individuals personally disagreeing... can you name a government function with 100 percent buy in? ( As individual citizens, we win some and we lose some: no way to please everyone)

    Kevin


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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    I would say it would be applied by statutory formula and criteria, not via an auditors judgement and discretion

    As to the part about individuals personally disagreeing... can you name a government function with 100 percent buy in? ( As individual citizens, we win some and we lose some: no way to please everyone)

    Kevin


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    I don't disagree. My point is to make hard limits. Right now, churches are allowed to buy up land start a business and pay no taxes. Then they are able to funnel that money to political causes. That's not a separation, they should not be allowed to have their cake and eat it too. Their collective voice, person for person, should not be allowed to be louder than an individual's voice outside of their collective. It's getting messy.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    eh, religion always has been 'rules of the tribe' - aka, government.

    that various methods exist to dispense these rules matters not a whit.

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    I don't disagree. My point is to make hard limits. Right now, churches are allowed to buy up land start a business and pay no taxes. Then they are able to funnel that money to political causes. That's not a separation, they should not be allowed to have their cake and eat it too. Their collective voice, person for person, should not be allowed to be louder than an individual's voice outside of their collective. It's getting messy.
    Vote. Write your congressman. Blog. Start a movement. And so on.

    You may prompt change. Or, not. Either way, there are options for expressing our discontent with government that don't involve violence, or denigration of other people or belief systems that we, personally, don't understand.

    Kevin
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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    This has been trashed over and over again here in the bilge. Houses of worship don't pay taxes and never will.
    Get over it.
    But here at least some of those 'churches' run businesses. Profitable, commercial, free enterprise businesses and the business pays no tax and sometimes attempts to claim exemption from labour and discrimination laws as well on religious grounds. Our PM's happy clappers to name one.

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Because the benefit the community receives from the tax free organization equals or exceeds the benefits that could be paid for with tax dollars.

    Kevin




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    What benefit do we derive from churches?
    How do we form a mutiny? Our new captain is navigating poorly.

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Vote. Write your congressman. Blog. Start a movement. And so on.

    You may prompt change. Or, not. Either way, there are options for expressing our discontent with government that don't involve violence, or denigration of other people or belief systems that we, personally, don't understand.

    Kevin
    You missed the point entirely.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    I'd like to go back to my town meeting. NONE of the members of the town council could explain why churches don't pay property tax.

    As far as they knew, the Red Cross pays property tax on their building. We had a number of non profit organizations in our town, most rented space if office buildings. They got no break on their rent, and their landlord got no break on his property taxes.

    My gut, as I said, is only town buildings; schools, fire dept. Police, town hall, courts, and such should not pay property taxes to the town. In my view I'd argue that if the STATE police have an office in your town, they should pay property taxes to your town. I'd not argue that violently, as people in the town likely benefit from other government offices being in the town.

    Any organization that pays no property tax is being supported by the taxpayers. Don't know how anyone denies that. If my property taxes support a church, I am supporting, by force, religion.

    Other non profits DO pay property tax. They get discounted mail rates for bulk mailings, but not for 1st class.

    It's reasonable, I think, that someone on the town council would know what they are talking about when they told me the Red Cross pays property taxes, even though they don't know why churches are exempt.
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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    I'd like to go back to my town meeting. NONE of the members of the town council could explain why churches don't pay property tax.

    As far as they knew, the Red Cross pays property tax on their building. We had a number of non profit organizations in our town, most rented space if office buildings. They got no break on their rent, and their landlord got no break on his property taxes.

    My gut, as I said, is only town buildings; schools, fire dept. Police, town hall, courts, and such should not pay property taxes to the town. In my view I'd argue that if the STATE police have an office in your town, they should pay property taxes to your town. I'd not argue that violently, as people in the town likely benefit from other government offices being in the town.

    Any organization that pays no property tax is being supported by the taxpayers. Don't know how anyone denies that. If my property taxes support a church, I am supporting, by force, religion.

    Other non profits DO pay property tax. They get discounted mail rates for bulk mailings, but not for 1st class.

    It's reasonable, I think, that someone on the town council would know what they are talking about when they told me the Red Cross pays property taxes, even though they don't know why churches are exempt.

    This single line changed my mind. I support taxing religions.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Interesting article on the Church of Scientology taking over Clearwater, FL.

    https://projects.tampabay.com/projec...r-real-estate/
    Tom

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    I'd like to go back to my town meeting. NONE of the members of the town council could explain why churches don't pay property tax.

    As far as they knew, the Red Cross pays property tax on their building. We had a number of non profit organizations in our town, most rented space if office buildings. They got no break on their rent, and their landlord got no break on his property taxes.

    My gut, as I said, is only town buildings; schools, fire dept. Police, town hall, courts, and such should not pay property taxes to the town. In my view I'd argue that if the STATE police have an office in your town, they should pay property taxes to your town. I'd not argue that violently, as people in the town likely benefit from other government offices being in the town.

    Any organization that pays no property tax is being supported by the taxpayers. Don't know how anyone denies that. If my property taxes support a church, I am supporting, by force, religion.

    Other non profits DO pay property tax. They get discounted mail rates for bulk mailings, but not for 1st class.

    It's reasonable, I think, that someone on the town council would know what they are talking about when they told me the Red Cross pays property taxes, even though they don't know why churches are exempt.
    I would also say this in regard to child tax credits for people making over a certain salary. There's no reason I should be supporting your choice to have a child.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    This has been trashed over and over again here in the bilge. Houses of worship don't pay taxes and never will.

    Get over it.
    But if they want to jump into the political fray, they simply can’t continue to maintain their tax-free status. That’s the issue.

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    In a development that could challenge the Constitution's prohibition of any law "respecting an establishment of religion," the federal government will soon provide money directly to U.S. churches to help them pay pastor salaries and utility bills.

    A key part of the $2 trillion economic relief legislation enacted last month includes about $350 billion for the Small Business Administration to extend loans to small businesses facing financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus shutdown orders. Churches and other faith-based organizations, classified as "businesses," qualify for aid under the program, even if they have an exclusively religious orientation.

    "Faith-based organizations are eligible to receive SBA loans regardless of whether they provide secular social services," the SBA said in a statement. "No otherwise eligible organization will be disqualified from receiving a loan because of the religious nature, religious identity, or religious speech of the organization."

    Churches have been especially hard hit by shutdown orders, because many of them rely on weekly offerings that are no longer being collected.

    "There is a portion of that revenue that just by virtue of people's habits and practices doesn't come back," Vice President Pence reportedly said in a recent conference call with U.S. pastors. In introducing the new SBA program, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Pence and President Trump "made sure" that churches would be included in the program.

    Under the Trump administration, the federal government has already been providing funds directly to churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious organizations. In 2018, the Federal Emergency Management Agency changed its rules to make houses of worship eligible for disaster aid.

    The new SBA program, however, takes federal funding of religious institutions significantly further. Under the new Paycheck Protection Program, businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including faith-based organizations, are eligible to receive loans of up to $10 million, with at least 75% of the money going to cover payroll costs. The loans are in large part forgivable, so churches and other houses of worship won't have to worry about paying all the money back.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/coronav...astor-salaries
    Tom

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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    What benefit do we derive from churches?
    Let me preface my repsonse by stating that I am not advocating for tax-free status, nor decrying it.

    For the sake of discussion, a church might receive tax-exempt status because it provides counseling services, a food pantry/ meals for the poor or shut ins/;provides its facility and grounds for use by community clubs, sports teams, or as meeting spaces for places like Narcotics Anonymous, etc., etc., etc.. I am sure we can all imagine additional "community services" provided by churches if we thought about it.

    Whether or not any individual citizen availed themselves of those benefits or those services would not be relevant.

    Kevin
    Last edited by Breakaway; 05-30-2020 at 10:51 AM.
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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    You missed the point entirely.
    Alright.
    Explain, please, how things are, " getting messy," and what you propose as a plan of action.

    Kevin
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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofswen View Post
    But if they want to jump into the political fray, they simply can’t continue to maintain their tax-free status. That’s the issue.
    Not quite accurate. A non-profit organized as a 501c3 is permitted to spend a certain amount of their budget on issues-oriented political activity. They cannot support or advocate for or against specific candidates, but only on issues.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Does't not taxing churches make them part of our government?

    Quote Originally Posted by McMike View Post
    I would also say this in regard to child tax credits for people making over a certain salary. There's no reason I should be supporting your choice to have a child.
    That's a whole 'nother thread. People should have children they can afford to raise. My wife and I had two, figured that was enough, and I got a vasectomy. Many times I've posted I'd rather my tax dollars pay for vasectomies, abortions, and such instead of supporting an unwanted child for 18 years.

    TO BE CLEAR: I see a distinction between having children they can support, and falling on bad times; a company goes out of business so a job is lost, or illness changes finances, versus being on public assistance and having more children.

    Back to the topic. My understanding, based on the town meeting mentioned above is the only buildings exempt from property taxes are churches and other government buildings. The post office does not pay property taxes on building it owns. It rents some spaces, and gets no break, nor does the landlord, as far as I know.

    I'm not entirely sure I support the other governments not paying property taxes. They dial 911, and the cops come.

    I'm not as clear on that as I am on churches, and a great deal more town real estate was consumed by churches of varied religions than by the post office. There was a main post office, owned by the federal government. there were three substations that were rented store fronts.
    How do we form a mutiny? Our new captain is navigating poorly.

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