Saturday, August 18, 2007; Page B09
LAWSUIT IN LOUISIANA Church Gifts Questioned
The American Civil Liberties Union and its Louisiana affiliate have filed a lawsuit in federal court against Gov. Kathleen Blanco and the state treasurer, challenging taxpayer-financed government grants to two churches.
The gifts at issue — $100,000 to the Stonewall Baptist Church in Bossier City and $20,000 to Shreveport Christian Church — are among 14 appropriations that state lawmakers requested for churches in the state operating budget that Blanco signed into law last month.
According to the ACLU, in certain circumstances, the state can give money to religious organizations for programs that provide nonreligious social services, but the First Amendment
bars the government from making direct, unrestricted payments to churches.
A spokesman for Blanco said the governor’s office had no comment on the lawsuit.