Government Drops Fine Against Alliance Of Baptists

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has dropped a potential fine against a group of Baptist churches over allegations of violating federal regulations on travel to Cuba.

Last year, the Treasury Department issued a notice to the Alliance of Baptists that several of the group’s member churches between 2003-2005 violated their Cuba travel licenses by not engaging in “full-time religious activity.” The notice from Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) accused Alliance members of abusing their travel privileges because of “sightseeing and beach time,” and said the group faced a potential fine of $34,000. The Alliance appealed the notice.

In May, Religion News Service reported that federal officials had told the Alliance that it would not be fined after all. A Treasury department letter stated that “after a careful review of the entire file, OFAC has decided to withdraw the notice.”

The Alliance for Baptists’ leader, the Rev. Stan Hastey, told RNS that he was “grateful” that the notice was rescinded.