City funding for Mark Twain church prompts lawsuit threat

.- Carson City, Nevada’s decision to fund sidewalks, landscaping and roof repairs for a church that Mark Twain helped build has prompted protests and the threat of a lawsuit from a group that advocates strict separation of church and state.

Last month, Carson City supervisors voted to give the city’s First Presbyterian Church $78,800 for the sidewalks, landscaping and roof repairs, the Associated Press reports. In 2006, the city gave the church $67,700 to help with design costs for a new church building adjacent to the old one.

City and church officials say the money addresses additional costs resulting from an agreement that the congregation would not raze the original church but instead build a new one.

The Washington, D.C.-based group Americans United for Separation of Church and State protested the decision. If the supervisors do not rescind their votes, the group will consider a lawsuit, Americans United attorney Alex Luchenitser said.

"It seems to be a very clear constitutional violation," he told the Associated Press. "The First Amendment mandates separation of church and state. Public funds can't be used to support religious activity directly or indirectly."

City officials said the money is designed to save the historic brick church, not support religious activity.

Luchenitser said Americans United was “quite confident” it would prevail, based on other legal precedents.

The group will reportedly give the city a chance to respond to its Thursday letter and then consider its options if the city does not change its decision.

The church’s pastor, Bruce Kochsmeier, said that the city’s money is “minimal compensation” for the church having to revise its plans. He argued the money benefits all residents.

"Doesn't the door swing both ways? Wasn't it a violation when we weren't allowed to tear down our building?" Kochsmeier asked. "Wasn't that right of religious expression being squelched?"

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon

Liturgical Calendar

July 28, 2014

Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:31-35


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 13: 1-11
Gospel:: Mt 13: 31-35

Saint of the Day

St. Victor I, Pope »


Homily of the Day

Mt 13:31-35


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: