Pay Your Own Way: In America, Religion Must Spurn Tax Aid.


The U.S. Supreme Court last month declined to hear a case from New Jersey involving taxpayer aid to houses of worship deemed historic. The New Jersey Supreme Court had ruled that this type of public assistance to active houses of worship violates the state constitution. That ruling will stand.

That's the good news. The bad news is that three justices are eager to change the law in this area. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, joined by Justices Samuel A. Alito and Neil Gorsuch, issued a statement indicating that while they agree the time isn't right to take a case like this right now, they want to see one on the high court's docket in the future--and they left little doubt about how they'll rule.

Kavanaugh asserted that the court will eventually have to decide whether the government can deny historical preservation funds to religious organizations "simply because the organizations are religious." He indicated that denying such aid "would raise serious questions under this Court's precedents and the Constitution's fundamental guarantee of equality."

Actually, the Constitution's "fundamental guarantee of equality" means that all religious groups have the right to exist in America with no one group getting preferential treatment over others. It says nothing about houses of worship getting access to public funds.

There's a reason for that: The founders lived during a time when in some states, people were compelled to pay church taxes. In Thomas Jefferson's home state of Virginia, the Anglican Church was established by law, and everyone had to support it financially...

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