Saturday, August 22, 2009

Using City Funds for Church Day Care Center, Maryland

Here is an interesting case from the Baltimore Sun newspaper. A church is renewing facilities for its day care center. There is a bill being proposed to allow for lower-interest loans for this project. The bonds would carry no cost or risk to county taxpayers, under Maryland law. There is an objection based on "separation of church and state."

The church's case is that this facility is used by more non-members than members. It does not cost the government anything for operation and the church actually subsidizes its operation by about $30,000/year.

Separation of church and state is a metaphor meant to summarize the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, although it is much to vague to be instructive. That amendment prohibits the federal government from establishing an official religion (and some believe the 14th Amendment carries that prohibition to the state governments). But does helping this center serve the parents and children of the area really establish an official religion? And would a provision such as this be offered for a non-religious facility? If so, are funds not being withheld from the religious group as a form of discrimination based solely on religion?

It's an interesting question at least.

Read more at the Baltimore Sun.

No comments: