Supreme Court imposes church tax

Reckless ruling blows a huge hole in the wall between church and state: Opposing view

In America, houses of worship should continue to pay their own way.

Religious institutions in this country have traditionally relied on voluntary support, not taxpayer funds, to grow and prosper. This system has worked well for us. Religion in America has thrived under this voluntary principle.

Monday’s decision by the Supreme Court in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer is starkly at odds with that great tradition. By asserting that houses of worship have a legal right to public funds in some cases, the high court has imposed a modern-day version of a church tax on all of us.

Americans should have the right to support only the religious groups of their choosing. As James Madison, the father of the Constitution and author of the Bill of Rights, once observed, compelling someone to pay even “three pence” to support another person’s religion is too much. The court has thrown open a door that should have remained tightly shut.

Some have argued that the type of aid the Missouri church sought is akin to fire and police services. The comparison does not survive close scrutiny. A burning building presents a grave threat to all, and using a tax-funded fire department to extinguish it is common sense. Trinity Lutheran, by contrast, wanted to spruce up its facilities. Instead of asking its members to foot the bill, it turned to the taxpayers.

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