Massachusetts’s highest court is hearing a case brought by a Catholic shrine against a town that assessed property taxes on the “non-religious” portions of the shrine.
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts is hearing a case today brought by the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, a Roman Catholic shrine and retreat center, against its town’s tax assessor that has unified the state’s diverse religious groups. At issue is the town of Attleboro’s decision, in 2012, to assess taxes on the “non-religious” portions of the shrine’s property.
In an amicus brief [PDF], the Massachusetts Council of Churches argues, “We believe the tax assessor’s attempt to categorize and then divide religious space is both not right and not possible.” The New England Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association signed the council’s amicus brief, along with eleven other faith groups. The state’s four Roman Catholic dioceses submitted a separate amicus brief in support of the full tax exemption of the shrine.
Read news coverage from the Boston Globe and Attleboro’s Sun Chronicle. Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby describes the case at greater length.
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Christopher L. Walton is editor of UU World. He holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Utah and is a member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship.
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