The problem is that, when read broadly, this language would prevent any use of public property by any religious organization. Scout troops or church groups, for example, couldn’t use public parks. Given the history and pervasive religiosity of our society, this provision cannot reasonably be interpreted to forbid the faithful from benefiting from public facilities or services.
Our court should read this provision so that, while government cannot favor religion, it may treat religion equally, both compared to different faiths and to the secular. When a recipient of publicly funded services, like health care or education, for example, chooses religious providers over secular agencies, compensating the religious provider for providing the service isn’t supporting or benefiting religion. It’s treating religion fairly.