Church-state battle brews over shuttered churches

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(RNS) When a church is deemed no longer viable and is ordered to be closed, who gets to decide what happens to the building? Catholic dioceses in Ohio and Massachusetts are resisting moves by local officials to apply landmark designations to shuttered churches saying such moves raise issues of religious freedom and expression. Landmark advocates, […]

  • Dawn Ellis

    I think this issue pushes the boundaries of governmental intervention into religious activities, and whereas the government has the obligation to ensure that religious beliefs/ceremonies, etc do not break the laws of this country and do not infringe on the civil liberties of citizens, I am not convinced that the government can force a religious institution to maintain a property as a public service. In following this dispute I have not seen it clearly explained how the maintenance of these churches will be funded and Cleveland/Ohio does not appear to be in a financial position to assume the burden for non-essential activities. As much as I would like for these churches to be maintained/re-used, I think the sort of coercion advocated by Kucinich makes cooperative action much more difficult to initiate and the entire exchange becomes adversarial and unproductive.