Religious Activities

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The Constitution of the state of Washington is clear on the limitations on public funding of religious activities. It states that no public money or property shall be appropriated for, or applied to, any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or the support of any religious establishment. The prohibition applies to indirect, as well as direct expenditures, of public money for religious worship, exercise, or instruction.

The Washington Supreme Court suggests that religious activities will fall within the categories of worship, exercise, or instruction, unless:

  • They are taught in a completely objective manner.
  • Have no effect on religious beliefs.
  • Are not slanted towards any particular theological or religious point of view.
  • Do not indoctrinate anyone.
  • Do not enter the realm of belief or faith.
  • In other words, persons or groups who desire state funding may speak about religion, but they may not speak for religion.

Public funds cannot be used to support religious establishment or religious worship, exercise, or instruction, as defined by the Washington courts. Facilities can, however, be made available for religious worship, exercise, or instruction as long as the group is charged a rate consistent with its status.

Use of facilities for religious purposes can be reviewed and limited if such activity is determined to be dominating the facility (i.e. excluding others from using the facility). Questions regarding this policy may be referred to the Center for Student Involvement.