Funding victory for Moon church
The Supreme Court, in a victory for the Unification Church of the South Korean evangelist, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, ruled 5 to 4 that states cannot monitor the funding of some religious groups while leaving others unregulated. The justices struck down a Minnesota law requiring religious organizations to disclose their funding sources if they collect more than half their money by public solicitation. The law exempted religious groups that receive more than 50 percent of their revenues from members or affiliated organizations.
In his written opinion, Justice William Brennan declared the law was drafted ''with the explicit intention of including particular religious denominations and excluding others,'' in violation of First Amendment guarantees of freedom of religion.
But the decision was not a total victory for the church. The majority noted that unless the Rev. Mr. Moon's group proves it is a ''religious organization'' under Minnesota law, state officials can force it to register as a charitable, nonreligious group. The group would then be required to meet stringent state income reporting requirements.