ACTON, Mass. (AP) — A national group promoting the separation of church and state is suing a Massachusetts town for earmarking $115,000 in taxpayers’ money to support a pair of local churches.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is arguing that officials in Acton violated the Massachusetts constitution by approving Community Preservation Act grants for Acton Congregational Church and South Acton Congregational Church.

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The Washington, D.C.-based group is suing in Middlesex Superior Court on behalf of 13 taxpayers who contend the churches’ historic statuses don’t justify the use of public funds for improvements.

In April, the town approved grants that would pay for the restoration of stained-glass windows, roofing and other work.

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Peter Berry, chairman of the Acton board of selectmen, tells The Boston Globe that historic preservation was the sole motivation.


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