A real church-state debate

by   |  10.19.05  |  Current Events

Southern Hills Church of Christ in December will serve as the venue for an Abilene Independent School District debate tournament, as it has for several years. As the Abilene Reporter-News writes today, one student can’t attend because of religious convictions prohibiting entering another house of worship.

This is interesting because the student is essentially arguing free exercise on her side and establishment on the side of the church. The Americans United for Separation of Church and State has chimed in, wondering why the school district can’t find space anywhere else in town.

Southern Hills could make the argument that denying it the right to host the debate tournament denies it the ability to make revenue off its building because it is a church – a free exercise violation. But the AUSCS could argue that Southern Hills gives up the right to turn its building for a profit because it maintains tax-exempt status.