Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

something else to worry about

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Jul 01, 2005

Among the many frightening rulings issued by the US Supreme Court recently, last week's stunner expanding the power of local officials to take property through eminent doman was one of the more remarkable ones.

Justice Stevens said that the courts in general should give local officials "broad latitude in determining what public needs justify the use of the takings power." In practice, this means that if the local government decides it could generate more revenue by selling your property to a commercial enterprise, you could be forced to sell your home.

OK, that probably won't happen. After all you pay real-estate taxes, don't you?

Ah, but what if you don't pay taxes? What if you're a non-profit institution-- like, say, a church? You can be sure that folks on the planning boards are taking a slant-eyed look at properties owned by churches-- especially if they happen to be hostile to religion anyway-- and thinking about how much more tax income they could gain if the land were owned by video-rental shops.

This isn't an original idea on my part. The Becket Fund filed on amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to consider how this case could imperil religious institutions. The Becket Fund warned that the wrong sort of decision would "declare open season on the taking of religious institutions of all faiths and functions (houses of worship, schools, hospitals, and soup kitchens, to name just a few)..." And that's exactly the sort of decision the Supreme Court gave us.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our August expenses ($15,990 to go):
$35,000.00 $19,009.98
46% 54%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Does the EU flag evoke the patronage of the Virgin Mary? 0 hours ago
The diocese as corporate sponsor 7 hours ago
Lectures on Art and Faith in NYC 21 hours ago
Black Mass Thwarted in Oklahoma City 24 hours ago
A lesson in prudence: Stopping the Black Mass in Oklahoma City August 26

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
‘A real via crucis’: Pope Francis, patriarch plead on behalf of Iraq’s Christians CWN - August 8
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians in flight as Islamic State advances CWN - August 8