BJC says churches not entitled to taxpayer funds

Jul 12, 2016

By Bob Allen

Missouri’s ban on taxpayer funding for churches does not represent hostility toward religion but rather is a time-tested means of protecting religious liberty and the separation of church and state, claims a new brief filed at the U.S. Supreme Court by the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

Wading into a case involving a Lutheran church in Columbia, Mo., which was denied participation in a state solid-waste program that recycles used tires to create safe surfaces on children’s playgrounds, the Washington-based religious liberty watchdog coalition argued the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not require state governments to fund houses of worship.

BJC attorneys Holly Hollman and Jennifer Hawks reminded justices that the constitutional ban on government establishment of religion comes out of a period of history in which dissenters, including Baptists, specifically opposed taxpayer funding of churches.

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3 comments on “BJC says churches not entitled to taxpayer funds

  • Considering the OP topic is recycled tyres for playgrounds, the “our hands are tied” is frustrating, but(!)…

    the BJC lawyers have correctly asserted churches can’t have everything, there’s give and take, literally. The government shouldn’t budge one iota on this, lest a fissure or loophole opens up for Thor knows what.

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  • “Nobody need fear an established church by means of a recycled tire
    surface on a playground,” the ELRC brief argued.

    Better traction from recycled tires aside, the government would still be starting down a slippery slope.

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  • If a church takes money from the state, it gradually loses its independence.
    It is improper for an atheist like me to be forced to subsidise a paedophile ring, especially
    when that ring provides no services to the general state. e.g. the Catholic or Anglican church.

    If you are going to give tax breaks to churches, you must give them also to groups who perform similar activities but don’t believe in sky fairies, e.g. the Humanist Association.

    Tax breaks made sense 100 years ago when the local church provided the services of a community centre, gymnasium and theatre to the entire community. Today they don’t provide any services, so they don’t deserve any special break.

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