The Supreme Court, Religious Freedom and a Playground

The Supreme Court will soon consider the case of a Missouri Lutheran pre-school which was denied a grant to improve their playground — even though the state program helps other non-profits.  More Signs 1

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM:  Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley

AT ISSUE: Whether the exclusion of churches from a publicly funded aid program violates the Free Exercise and Equal Protection Clauses, if the state cannot establish a sufficiently valid Establishment Clause concern.

THE CASE: A local Christian church — supported by the nonprofit Becket Fund — sued after being denied Missouri state funds to improve the surface of a playground used by its preschool. The program gives grants to nonprofits seeking a safer recreational environment for children. Missouri law prohibits direct government aid to educational institutions that have a religious affiliation.


The Becket Fund puts it more bluntly:

The State of Missouri wants to make sure children run on safe playgrounds – unless they attend a religious school.

snip –

…the State denied the grant solely because the school is associated with a church. The State cited the Blaine Amendment, an arcane anti-Catholic and bigoted law that prohibits religious affiliated organizations from participating in public programs. This blatant discrimination prompted Trinity Lutheran to sue the state of Missouri in 2013.



The Supreme Court, Religious Freedom and a Playground

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