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First Liberty Briefing

First Liberty Briefing is an exclusive podcast hosted by First Liberty Institute’s Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys. In about 90-seconds, three times a week, Jeremy recalls the stories that have shaped America’s religious liberty, from the founding era to current legal battles and more. It’s an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people, and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
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Apr 29, 2019

In March 2019, the Supreme Court denied cert of a case that if left at its current status, would bar religious organizations from a general historical preservation fund program. Learn more at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.


The white-washed churches of New England, often contrasted against the reds and yellows of fall foliage, have captured the imagination of painters and photographers everywhere.  But, not the Supreme Court of the United States.

In March of 2019, the Justices declined to review an appeal from New Jersey Supreme Court case finding the funding of grants for the historic preservation of these churches unconstitutional.  Such grants allowed local organizations to apply for a grant to repair things like shingles, paint, or mechanical work, but not hymn books, altar pieces, or Sunday school lessons.  

At least a few Justices viewed the denial of these funds to churches as religious discrimination.  A perplexed, and unequivocal, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for Justices Alito and Gorsuch, said in a statement, “Barring religious organizations because they are religious from a general historic preservation grants program is pure discrimination against religion.” 

Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of more unvarnished religious discrimination. The government deciding that religious organizations are ineligible to participate equally in the public square merely because they are religious is precisely the type of religious discrimination the Founders were trying to prevent.  Justice Kavanaugh is absolutely right in declaring this to be “pure discrimination against religion.” 

No state official should discriminate against people of faith, or the religious organizations they operate, based merely on their religious status. 

To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

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