Radio Broadcast Library
Radio Broadcast Library

TB0017 The State is a Religion

Black Robed Priest admits, "My church is down at the Temple of Justice."

 

Janet Spangler 

Excerpt from radio interview with Washington Supreme Court Justice, Richard D. Sanders on Republican Radio, April 22, 2000. Hosted by Janet Spangler and Jerry Miller.

 



 

Transcript of Interview

   
Spangler Earlier, you said you want to avoid churches needing licenses. Are churches registered by the State now in any way?
Sanders No.
Spangler Not in any way? There is not a registration? They do not have to go to the State to get any kind of requirements or seek any kind of permission?
Sanders Well, if they establish a corporation or a nonprofit corporation, then I suppose there is a registration requirement for that, but for the most part, churches are certainly not required to have a license to practice their faith.
Spangler What about the ministers? Do they need authorization from the State to perform State-authorized marriages?
Sanders (Pause) Well, they (clears throat) have that authorization.
Spangler The State doesn't give them the authorization in any way?
Sanders I'm not absolutely clear on that. I think that not anybody can just go out and perform a marriage and have it legally binding. I think that it has to be a legitimate religion and what the requirements are to establish that you are in fact a pastor or a priest.
Spangler I've been curious about that legitimization. Is it the State that makes it legitimate or is the Church in and of itself legitimate?
Miller I'm concerned because Richard (the supreme court justice being interviewed) married Judy and me and I don't even know what church he belongs to. (Laughter)
Spangler Oh, he's the one that married you?
Sanders Well, my church is down at the Temple of Justice, Jerry. So I think you are safe there.
Miller You think we are legitimate?
Sanders (Laughter) Right.
Miller And Judy says "Hello" by the way. And she is still saying "thank you."
Spangler I was just curious if there is some way that a church can be a church without being involved with the State in any way, shape, or form so that they don't have to worry about additional laws being imposed on them by the State.
Sanders Well, I think that was the original idea.
Spangler Uh-huh
Sanders I know that in some communities I've read about -- it kind of depends upon what you mean by a church. But individuals would sponsor prayer meetings in their home and it would cause increased traffic in the neighborhood and the neighbors would object under zoning laws and then try to stop that. I think when the Constitution says absolute freedom of worship, it means what it says and that this--
Spangler I agree.
Sanders -- is Constitutionally privileged activity and that the government always goes, always pushes the envelope and that's what the courts are for, to say no.
Spangler Okay, thank you.
Miller Justice Sanders, thank you so very much for being with us on the air today and we'll have you back as soon as we possibly can. You're listening to Republican radio on the air sponsored by the Snohomish County Republican Party on KRKO AM 1380 Talk Radio with a Bite. I'm your host Jerry Miller. My co-hosts are Tim Suitor and Janet Spangler and our very special guest has been Washington Supreme Court Justice Richard D. Sanders.