Press Release

Historic churches to court: We deserve preservation, too Atheist group sues to blacklist churches from historic preservation grant program

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A group of historic churches will defend their right to receive historic preservation grants on Tuesday, October 23, at the New Jersey Supreme Court. In FFRF v. Morris County Board of Freeholders, the Wisconsin-based atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation claims that the New Jersey Constitution forbids churches from participating in preservation grant programs available to all historic buildings. Yet earlier this year in Trinity Lutheran, the U.S. Supreme Court protected a church’s right to participate in generally available public benefits programs, which would include Morris County’s historic preservation grant. Becket filed a friend-of-the-court brief defending Morris County’s grant program and in support of the Catholic, Baptist, Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches whose buildings have benefited from it. 

Oral Argument in FFRF v. Morris County Board of Freeholders 

Hearing begins October 23, 2017 at 10 a.m. EST  

The Supreme Court of New Jersey  
25 Market Street, Trenton, New Jersey, 08611 

Becket Senior Counsel Hannah Smith
will be available for comment immediately following the hearing. 

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Melinda Skea at or 202-349-7224. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. 


Becket is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions and has a 100% win-rate before the United States Supreme Court. For over 20 years, it has successfully defended clients of all faiths, including Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians (read more here).