Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Supreme Court sides with church in playground case

Supreme Court sides with church in playground case

The Supreme Court has ruled that churches have the same right as other charitable groups to seek state money for new playground surfaces and other non-religious needs.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that churches and other religious institutions can not be excluded from receiving public funds if the money is going towards purely secular purposes.

Justice Sotomayor in her dissent disagreed entirely with the majority's take on the case.

The Supreme Court then asked Missouri and the church whether the case was moot or whether it still mattered.

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision allowing religious institutions to receive taxpayer-funded grants marks what may be the end of a debate in Missouri dating back to the 1800s. In her dissenting opinion, Justice Sotomayor argued that the decision radically changes what she believes was the previously held relationship between church and state.

Despite the 7-2 ruling in favor of allowing a Missouri church to use public funds, the Supreme Court added a brief footnote to its majority decision that helped it to avoid any larger questions about the constitutionality of funneling state money to religious organizations. The effect is, in all likelihood, a few extra scraped knees.

Although the state highly ranked Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center as qualified for the program (fifth out of 44 nonprofit applicants), it denied the center's application exclusively because a church runs the preschool.

Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia wanted to participate in a state program that reimburses the cost of rubberizing the surface of playgrounds. This Supreme Court decision will majorly influence over 30 states which bar public funds from the hands of religious organizations. "We do not address religious uses of funding or other forms of discrimination", Roberts said in the opinion's footnote 3. This order can not be applied to other kinds of discrimination or religious utilization of funding.

Sheriff: Man killed missing son, 5, after Disneyland trip
He told police he had taken prescription pills that belonged to someone else and did not know what had happened to his son. Christopher Bergner, center, stands by a poster of Aramazd Andressian Jr ., a 5-year-old boy who has been missing for s.

During a period of anti-Catholic bigotry, Blaine proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to deny any public funds to parochial schools.

Contradicting early predictions of a ruling sharply divided on ideological grounds, Justice Kagan joined the Chief's opinion in full, and Justice Breyer wrote an opinion concurring in the judgment.

Cover: The empty playground at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Missouri.

The St. Louis-based 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals in 2015 upheld a trial court's dismissal of the suit.

Michael Bindas, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, said the principle of "religious neutrality" applies "whether the government is enabling schools to resurface their playgrounds or empowering parents to direct their children's education".

Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU's Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, said the organization is "disappointed" with the decision. In his opinion, Justice Roberts reiterated the Establishment Clause as follows: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

"This case involves express discrimination based on religious identity with respect to playground resurfacing".

Like this: