Contemporary Christian WCVO (104.9 The River)/Columbus Qualifies As A Tax-Free Church, Rules Ohio Court
April 15, 2016 at 4:28 AM (PT)
Does a religious radio station qualify as a tax-exempt place of worship? In the case of RIVER RADIO MINISTRIES Contemporary Christian WCVO (104.9 THE RIVER)/COLUMBUS, OH, an OHIO Supreme Court says yes.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH reports, "the 4-3 ruling overturns the state tax commissioner's finding that the property of WCVO (104.9 FM) owned by Christian Voice is a commercial enterprise, with its property used exclusively as a radio station -- not as a church. But, Tax Commissioner JOSEPH TESTA improperly failed to 'consider whether Christian Voice exhibits the essential qualities of a church,' wrote Justice SHARON L. KENNEDY in the majority opinion. She said "the record clearly demonstrates that the primary use of Christian Voice’s land and building is for church purposes" and the evidence demonstrates that Christian Voice “has dedicated all its land and buildings to charity and religion, and … [has] the necessary attributes of a church.”
KENNEDY also wrote, “The fact that Christian music makes up the majority of the broadcasting strengthens, not weakens, Christian Voice’s arguments that its purpose is religious.”
Dissenting, Chief JUSTICE MAUREEN O'CONNOR claimed the majority was practicing “blatant activism” for its use of misguided case law “flown in on a wing and prayer” to rule in favor of WCVO. The majority found that the "broadcast of 'adult contemporary Christian' music mystically transforms its radio station into a tax-exempt house of worship," O'CONNOR wrote. "If that framing were proper, we would face a church-state issue that poses complex constitutional conundrums." The public does not gather at the station for religious services, she said.