Roman Catholic and Lutheran representatives are challenging a state order that religious schools must contribute to state unemployment insurance.
The taxation would amount to unconstitutional state intrusion into church affairs, religious spokesmen contend.
Robert Eggold of Topeka, superintendent of Luthern Church-Missouri Synod schools in Kansas, said the church has no quarrel with the concept of unemployment insurance.
"For us the most significant part," Eggold said, "is that the law states a process by which administrators of unemployment programs must determine whether grounds for dismissal of employes are acceptable,.
"At some point, the feds are going to interject themselves into a decision that has theological implications," Eggold complained. "They've got no business doing that."
As for the Wichita Catholic Diocese, "We think we're still exempt," Francis Hesse, attorney for the diocese, said. "We think this does violate the principle" of separation of church and state.
The Kansas Department of Human Resources employment division has issued subpoenas to Kapaun-Mount Carmel High School, Blessed Sacrament Catholic school and Holy Cross Lutheran School, all in Wichita.
The state wants the records to determine how much the schools must contribute to the state's trust fund for unemployment insurance. The fund made up of employers' contributions is used to pay benefits to unemployed workers.