rduncan at UNLINFO.UNL.EDU
Tue Jan 14 13:58:20 PST 1997
Doug Laycock writes:
> There is a landmarking case in Michigan where the landmark is an old
> house on the grounds of a church. The church offered to give the house to
> the city and move it, at the church's expense, to any site the city
> designated. The city of course refused the offer. The city doesn't want
> the obligation of perpetual maintenance. This highlights another aspect of
> these cases: they are about permanently diverting the resources of the
> church from religious to secular uses.
RFRA, schmrfra. This last case demonstrates why Richard Epstein is
correct about Takings law. If the state believes that there is public
benefit from preserving landmarks, the state ought to take the
property and pay for it (rather than impose the full cost of the
landmark on the unlucky property owner). Our decision to marginalize
property rights as second class liberties is all too frequently what
places free exercise and other "personal" liberties in harms way.
Whether it be churches restricted by landmark laws or Mrs. Smith
persecuted by "fair housing laws," the trivialization of property
rights is a significant part of the problem.
Rick Duncan (rduncan at unlinfo.unl.edu)
"We say that the most dangerous criminal now is the entirely lawless
modern philosopher....Thieves respect property. They merely wish the
property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect
it. But philosophers dislike property as property; they wish to
destroy the very idea of personal possession."
--G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday
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