A federal appeals court says the city of Detroit did not violate the Constitution when it partially reimbursed churches for renovations before the Super Bowl and other major sporting events.
After winning a bid to host the 2006 Super Bowl, the city in 2003 created a development program to reimburse up to half the costs of refurbishing downtown buildings and parking lots.
Three churches received 6 percent, or $737,000, of more than $11 million allocated for projects.
The group American Atheists sued, claiming the city could not include religious organizations in the program.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled Thursday that Detroit intended to bolster its downtown — not promote religion in general or any one faith in particular.