Alaska Church pic

At no time in Fairbanks’ history has a borough assembly election been so important for members of the faith community. I know you hear this every cycle, but the issues at stake this time are important to not only your faith, but to your church finances.

I know many of you have received the Fairbanks voter’s guide put out by the Alaska Family Council. It has some great information on the candidates.

I would like to highlight one subject: taxation of nonprofits. It began with several small churches who were afraid to speak out- but the first well-known instance of the borough assessor attempting to tax a nonprofit was Camp Liwa.

When people tithe … they do not expect to see their tithes and offerings go to fund the borough government and school district.

While this matter is still in litigation, it has not stopped the borough assessor from moving to tax other nonprofit entities.  Not only has the Food Bank been taxed, at the end of August, the borough closed the Kid Zone at the Carlson Center and had someone from the assessor’s office sitting all week in the Food Bank parking lot to monitor the food bank’s use of their land.

The entity that was formerly Love, Inc. – now Helping Alaska – has been similarly taxed. Several other churches have also testified they are being taxed – one of them over $150,000 dollars. It seems fairly clear that there is assault on those who carry out the mission of Christ.

Under prior borough code, nonprofits had to go to court and hire attorneys to counter the assessor’s decision. Tammie Wilson, Jimi Cash, and the conservative board members voted to allow the Board of Equalization (BOE) to hear these cases. While Mr. Gibson was not on the assembly at the time, he indicated he would vote the same.

This gives nonprofit entities an opportunity to seek redress without hiring expensive attorneys. While nonprofits can still avail themselves of the court system, going to the Board of Equalization gives nonprofits a more affordable opportunity to have their appeal heard.

There is still more to be done to protect nonprofits, but we need to continue the conservative majority to do that.

When people tithe or donate money to an organization, they want to see that money further that organization’s goals or religious beliefs. They do not expect to see their tithes and offerings go to fund the borough government and school district.

I hope you take the opportunity to thank Assemblywoman Wilson and Assemblyman Cash for their diligence and efforts. Aaron Gibson, formerly on the Fairbanks City Council, will vote the same way. The loudest thank you is to vote on October 3.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and are submitted as a private citizen.

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OPINION: Fairbanks election could impact religious liberty

Barbara Haney
The author has been a resident of the Fairbanks Borough for over 30 years. In addition to running several small businesses in the area, she worked as a faculty member at University of Alaska Fairbanks, and has served as a member of the board of the North Pole Community Chamber of Commerce, the North Pole Grange, and Interior Taxpayers Association. Currently, she serves on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly.


  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Stand up against the tyranny. This is a battle for the earth between good and evil. If good loses, you cannot hide anywhere, so stand your ground.
    Tom Petty – I won’t back down–byVnjQk

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    This is where the rubber meets the road! As a Christian myself it pains me to say this! I don’t give a crap about church funding! It’s becoming a useless institution! It stands faithful to the culture around it and has rendered itself useless! Pastor’s have no conscience and preach disconnected homilies of comfort! SALT,LIGHT used to make junk food palatable and just enough lumens of light coming from the tv to keep us from thinking! Evil pervades everything today! Defund the church! Time for a purge!

  • Jon and Ruth Ewig says:

    Thank you for an overview of the situation up here in Fairbank, Barb. The Christians need to wake up and be motivated to vote as their civic duty. Hopefully contacting every church with some of these articles will wake them up. The unions are strong and get funding from union dues to support our opposition. Also from different parts of the country. Requesting prayers to break the hold of the enemy.

  • Fire says:

    …and NOW we can all see why the IRS is being outfitted like an ARMY.

  • Richard Eide says:

    Churches in these current times are without a doubt agents for the betterment of individuals and society. Only blind hatred of our Heavenly Father and God’s Word the Bible would motivate some individuals to hinder the work of churches. A churchless society is an expensive society, as social ills require additional government money to fix. I would be a liar if I said I was a Christian and did not support a Bible preaching church.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Well Richard I will admit that it is hard to argue against your points but it is pretty discouraging to have gone to church for the last 50 + years and now see how irrelevant the church has become! As you indicate church is having an impact on the betterment of people. I would ask you where your seeing that? And if that is in fact occurring then maybe there ought to be an expression of that in society. I don’t see any. Do you? Church says it is about preaching the truth. Gods word. The gospel. The inerrant word! The instruction manual. Etc. When Richard have you heard a sermon or homily on love or grace? Every time you warm a pew. Exactly. When Richard have you entered one of the churches and heard a sermon on something else close to Gods heart. Justice, accountability, grow up and eat meat, or anything that would challenge the culture we are currently living in?! Is it possible we’re afraid of what the Bible predicts will come our way if we quote step out of line? That dreaded concept of persecution? We are far too compliant to the world and not so much towards God Himself!

    • Davidson Joel says:

      Dave, someone sent me a clip of a pastor who preached a powerful sermon this past Sunday in Soldotna. The 14 minute sermon starts at the 29-minute mark. I think it’s what you’re looking for from the clergy:

      • DaveMaxwell says:

        I listened to the sermon Joel and thank you for sending it. My reaction is no , this doesn’t get to the heart of what concerns me. The story of the two sons is certainly instructive on our need to be obedient and resistant to our sinful nature; but my deeper concern is where there is a complete void of effort, especially from the pulpit! Let me give you a few scripture references to illuminate the point. Jeremiah 7:5 (execute justice) 8:8> ( 1/2 truth culture even from the pulpit) 8:11 ( peace where there is none ) ? 9:24 ( this is the heart of God. “He practices steadfast love, and executes justice and righteousness in all the earth! For in these things I delight says the Lord)” if the present day church is following this God, wouldn’t it seem to reason that the out of control wickedness would be confronted by the church with the execution of justice and righteousness to stop this?
        Eric Metaxas in his book letter to the American church puts it this way: the nazis were allowed to kill millions of Jews primarily because 2/3rds of the church acquiesced to the regime and said nothing!
        The church today has said nothing for example about dunleavy standing with a smirk on his face, and his right arm around Chloe Cole who was here warning us about the wicked lies that were given and paid for by leaders like dunleavy! It is a fact that while he was embracing her his own department of health and human services was writing checks to mutilate more beautiful young children! Dunleavy’s seared conscience allowed him to smirk, hug, lie( it’s pseudo science) and stare into the camera lens ! It’s way past time to remind him and this wicked culture that what God delights in is not tolerating every wicked thing you can imagine, but love justice, and righteousness! We are way off track and our very existence is at stake!