The lawsuit filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the ACLU of New Jersey is covered by Town Topics in Princeton, NJ, home of the Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS), one of the religious schools who may receive huge taxpayer subsidies from the State.
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According to the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ), the State of New Jersey violated the New Jersey Constitution and law against discrimination when it awarded taxpayer funds to Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS).
Describing PTS as “an institution of higher learning devoted solely to religious training and instruction,” the ACLU-NJ, together with the national ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, filed a lawsuit to stop the state from awarding PTS $645,323. The money is thought to have been requested for technology upgrades at the new PTS Library.
The lawsuit also aims to stop the state from granting $10.6 million to Beth Medrash Govoha, an orthodox Jewish rabbinical school in Lakewood, to pay for the construction of a new library and academic center. The all-male Orthodox Jewish school in Lakewood prepares students to become rabbis and religious educators. It was due to receive $10.6 million. Its courses of study are classified as “Theology/Theological Studies” or “Talmudic Studies.”
“The government has no business funding religious ministries,” said Ed Barocas, legal director of the ACLU of New Jersey. “Taxpayers should not foot the bill to train clergy or provide religious instruction, but the state is attempting to do exactly that.” He was expressing a view endorsed by Alex J. Luchenitser, associate legal director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who said: “These grants plainly violate the separation of church and state enshrined in the New Jersey Constitution.”
The New Jersey Constitution forbids taxpayer funds from supporting ministries or places of worship.