Guest / Limited Access /

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday, June 25, that taxpayers affiliated with an atheist group do not have standing to challenge the White House initiative channeling federal funds to religious groups providing social services.

Overturning a federal appeals court decision, the justices gave the White House a 5-4 victory in a closely watched ruling regarding its Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives.

"It has long been established … that the payment of taxes is generally not enough to establish standing to challenge an action taken by the federal government," Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy.

"If every federal taxpayer could sue to challenge any government expenditure, the federal courts would cease to function as courts of law and would be cast in the role of general complaint bureaus," Alito wrote.

The case, Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation, focused on the use of taxpayer money to fund faith-based offices and related conferences across the executive branch.

Foundation members said the policy violated the First Amendment's prohibition on "establishment" of religion, but the White House office argued the case was "intrusive" on the executive branch. In a statement, President Bush said the decision "is a win for the thousands of community and faith-based nonprofits all across the country that have partnered with government at all levels to serve their neighbors.

"Most importantly," Bush said, "it is a win for the many whose lives have been lifted by the caring touch and compassionate hearts of these organizations." The justices were asked to determine if taxpayers—in this case, the Wisconsin-based foundation—had standing to ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedFaith for the Post-Christian Heart: A Conversation with Francis Spufford
Faith for the Post-Christian Heart: A Conversation with Francis Spufford
For the UK writer, Christianity must first make sense in the realm of lived experience.
TrendingFive Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
Five Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
If you want to help people see Holy Week with fresh eyes, start by dropping these familiar fallacies.
Editor's PickWatch and Wait
Watch and Wait
Tarrying with Christ and the fearful dying.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

June 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.