By Hemant Mehta
In a unanimous decision just announced by the New Jersey Supreme Court, taxpayer dollars cannot be used to help repair or maintain churches. It’s a major victory for church/state separation advocates and one that will save taxpayers in the state millions of dollars that would otherwise have gone to promoting religious dogma.
The case involved more than $5.5 million in “historic preservation grants” that were given to a dozen churches in Morris County between 2012 and 2015. They were presumed legal because they didn’t directly promote faith.
But giving churches money for general maintenance is promoting faith since it frees up funding that goes right back into worship.
That’s why plaintiff David Steketee and the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit in 2015 saying the grants were illegal.
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