Birmingham Church Fined $34,000

U-S Treasury officials have fined the Alliance of Baptists 34-thousand dollars after citing Birmingham's Baptist Church of the Covenant and al other churches for engaging in banned tourist activities while in Cuba for religious purposes.

The group's executive director, Stan Hastey, said he plans to appeal the fine. The department's July fifth letter mentioned four other Baptist churches guilty of violations during trips to Cuba between 2003 and 2005. A letter last year notified the group its license to travel to Cuba was revoked and accused the Birmingham church delegation of not engaging in a full-time schedule of religious activities as required during a a trip in March 2005. He believes the Bush administration has been cracking down on Cuban policy, and singled out the alliance because of its opposition to the U-S economic embargo of Cuba.

A Treasury Department spokewsoman declined comment, saying the department does not discuss individual cases. The other churches mentioned in the letter were the First Baptist churches of Washington, D-C; Savannah, Georgia; and Greensville, South Carolina; and Glendale Baptist Church in Nashville.

Courtesy: Alabama Associated Press