Justice Brett Kavanaugh slams ‘pure discrimination’ against churches as the court declines to hear religious liberty case.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case about whether churches or other religious institutions in New Jersey are entitled to public funds for historic preservation.
— The Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 4, 2019
The Supreme Court refused Monday to decide whether religious institutions may be disqualified from public historic preservation funding, after a New Jersey court forbade local officials from dispersing $4 million to 12 churches.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote a separate opinion addressing the dispute, calling the lower court’s decision “pure discrimination.”
“Barring religious organizations because they are religious from a general historic preservation grants program is pure discrimination against religion,” Kavanaugh wrote. “At some point, this Court will need to decide whether governments that distribute historic preservation funds may deny funds to religious organizations simply because the organizations are religious.”
Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch joined the Kavanaugh opinion.
Morris County, New Jersey, awards grants for the maintenance of historically significant structures. Several churches dating back to the colonial period have received public support through that program since 2012. The case at issue Monday arose in April 2016, when the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and a local taxpayer brought a lawsuit claiming the Morris County program violates New Jersey’s constitution.
The state constitution provides that no person shall be “obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or other rates for building or repairing any church or churches.” The New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously sided with the FFRF. More
If it passes the requirements to be a historical structure I fail to see why they shouldn’t receive funds. The purpose of the structure is completely irrelevant.
Churches should be treated like any other historic building. If funds are granted to other historically significant structures of similar historical value, the churches should be viewed from that same perspective; as historic buildings, not religious symbols.
If the government is going to declare a church building a historic site and put it under the obligation of maintaining a historic site, then the church should have access to the same funds provided others for that.