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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