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Proposed Cooperative Agreement for the Administration of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park


The proposed cooperative agreement between the Secretary of the Interior and the Archbishop of San Antonio, for the administration of church-owned properties within the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, does not on its face present such a risk of advancing religion or involving the government in an entangling relationship with the church, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, that it may not be executed.

Any federal funds to be expended under the agreement would not relieve the church of any obligation it would otherwise have, or confer any recognizable benefit on the church, and thus could not be said to “advance” religion within the meaning of the test set forth in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 612–13 (1971). Nor is the extent of the federal presence at the Missions contemplated by the proposed agreement likely to confer any imprimatur of government approval on a religious sect or practice, or commit the government to religious goals.

Updated July 9, 2014