NYT and AU Won’t Cite Supreme Court Cases to Support Their Position The New York Times has joined in the chorus of disappointment over the House’s recent legislation enabling “houses of worship” to apply for National Disaster Relief funding from FEMA in the event their buildings are damaged or destoyed in any way. Similarly to… Read more

NYT and AU Won’t Cite Supreme Court Cases to Support Their Position

The New York Times has joined in the chorus of disappointment over the House’s recent legislation enabling “houses of worship” to apply for National Disaster Relief funding from FEMA in the event their buildings are damaged or destoyed in any way.

Similarly to “American United for the Separation of Church and State”, they claim that such a bill ignores decades of Supreme Court rulings. And similarly to AU, they do not cite one Supreme Court ruling that supports this interpretation of the anti-establishment clause.

That is the bottom line question. By providing funding for religious buildings without discrimination of religion, is the government establishing religion? My answer is “no”. I believe that this OpEd piece and AU believe it is a violation because it opposes the principle of “freedom FROM religion”. This principle is not in the Constitution, and is only one interpretation of the anti-establishment clause of the First Amendment. I would argue that that is a slippery slope. Pacifists can’t keep their taxes from military purposes (at least not legally). Vegan’s can’t keep their taxes from going to cattle farm subsidies. Similarly, as long as there is no preferential treatment in providing these funds, then atheists should understand that taxes may at times go to help rebuild America’s house of worship indiscriminately. Also, in comparison to things like military funding, this type of funding would be less than 1% of all taxes.

If someone more versed in Supreme Court law would educate me on this, I would be very open to hear it.

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