BJC’s friend-of-the-court brief in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue explains that avoiding government funding of religion is a key protection for religious liberty. “This special treatment of religion stems from our country’s deep and abiding commitment to religious liberty for all,” said BJC General Counsel Holly Hollman.
Avoiding government funding of religion is a key protection for religious liberty that protects against government interference in religion. BJC filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue defending the unique treatment of religion in state constitutions.
Holly Hollman provides analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Bladensburg cross case, a splintered decision that ultimately allowed the cross to continue on government land.
“The cross matters to us as Christians. It has a powerful, specific meaning that is central to our faith. Non-Christians also recognize the specific meaning of the cross, which is why we stand with them in saying no, the cross is not a universal symbol of sacrifice.”
“The cross is a symbol that is specific to Christianity, and the government’s efforts to claim otherwise are hollow and offensive.”
“While the government often partners with private religious entities in ways that meet pressing social needs, it must do so with respect for boundaries that separate church and state and protect religious liberty for everyone.”
In giving such broad deference to President Trump, the Court neglects its duty to uphold our First Amendment principles of religious liberty. Safeguarding religious liberty requires the government to remain neutral with regard to religion, neither favoring one religion over another nor preferring religion or irreligion.
“Rather than determining whether the business owner’s refusal to provide a service violated the law, the Court decided today’s case based on the actions of the administrative body charged with enforcing the law.”
Standing up for religious freedom requires both protecting the free exercise rights of all Americans and ensuring that government neither promotes any one faith tradition or favors religion over irreligion.
“This case implicates an essential aspect of religious freedom in our country: The government cannot enact laws designed to harm a religious group.”