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Dear Editor:
This is in reference to Eleanor Kaplan Adams' question that I am telling legitimate applicants that they are mistreated without evidence because some petitions are fraudulent. Of course not. This is a ridiculous question. If a case is denied because of 'suspected fraud' the attorney would not have any problem overturning this type of decision. Then she asked what does suspected fraud have to do with telling a church or religious school that a choir director or music teacher is not a traditional religious function? My response is Nothing (almost)... Please realize that I am not a government employee anymore and this is my own observation. Choir directors and music teachers in a church or religious school can be both approved and denied. It depends on the organization. Such as the religious school - is the position purely a religious vocation? Is the school a purely religious institution? Or does it or the individual teach secular things? There are many variables. Suggestion-look at the 2002-03 AILA Handbook. It has an excellent article on Religious Workers - though I did see some things in the 5-1(c)(3) copy they furnished that would disqualify the organization such as the religous employees were not paid and were working in secular positions. She also stated that sometimes a storefront church is really a church. True - but "suspected fraud" comes into play when that storefront church petitions for many religious workers, including choir directors, and claim that they are all fully supported by the church. The suspected fraud may not be that the church is not legitimate but that they are using the church to circumvent the spirit of the law.

Ben Garcia