USA Today reports:
The Supreme Court refused Monday to consider whether churches and other religious institutions should be able to receive public taxpayer funds for historic preservation.
The action stopped short of extending the justices’ 2017 ruling that churches can be eligible for purely secular grant programs such as playground renovations.
New Jersey’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously last year that religious institutions were ineligible for government funds under the New Jersey Constitution.
The Friendly Atheist reports:
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. And people were still worshiping at these churches.
That’s why plaintiff David Steketee and the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit in 2015 saying the grants were illegal.