Religion briefs, July 1

Bishop to celebrate Mass at shrine July 16

Bishop Daniel Thomas of Toledo is to celebrate Mass at the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey at noon July 16.

Each Sunday at 2:30 p.m., the shrine also offers devotions with an outdoor rosary procession, benediction and individual prayers for healing.

For more information, call (419) 396-7107 or visit olcshrine.com.

Supreme Court rules for Missouri church in playground case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that churches have the same right as other charitable groups to seek state money for new playground surfaces and other nonreligious needs.

But the justices stopped short of saying whether the ruling applies to school voucher programs that use public funds to pay for private, religious schooling.

By a 7-2 vote, the justices sided with Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri, which had sought a state grant to put a soft surface on its preschool playground.

Chief Justice John Roberts said for the court that the state violated the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment by denying a public benefit to an otherwise eligible recipient solely on account of its religious status. He called it “odious to our Constitution” to exclude the church from the grant program, even though the consequences are only “a few extra scraped knees.”

Bill would let churches endorse politically

WASHINGTON (AP) — Churches should have the First Amendment right to endorse political candidates and still keep their tax-free status, say House Republicans, who quietly tucked a provision into a sweeping spending bill that would deny the IRS money to enforce the 63-year-old law prohibiting such outright politicking from the pulpit.

Republicans repeatedly have failed to scrap the law preventing churches and other non-profits from backing candidates, so now they are trying to starve it. With little fanfare, a House Appropriations subcommittee added the IRS measure to a bill to fund the Treasury Department, Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies.

The subcommittee passed the bill Thursday.

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