Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
U.S. | By Monique Johnson

Supreme Court Rules Missouri Church Can Get Grant Money

Supreme Court Rules Missouri Church Can Get Grant Money

Two years ago, the Colorado Supreme Court struck down a program that allowed public money to indirectly fund religious schools in Douglas County, the suburban area that includes Lone Tree and Castle Rock.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has not subjected anyone to chains or torture on account of religion.

"The result of the State's policy is nothing so dramatic as the denial of political office". Roberts said that's true even though the consequences are only "a few extra scraped knees".

In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said, 'In this case, there is no dispute that Trinity Lutheran is put to the choice between being a church and receiving a government benefit.

Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas chose not sign onto a footnote that said the court's approval of funding for Trinity Lutheran only applied to playground funding and not parochial schools overall. Gorsuch wrote, "The Court leaves open the possibility a useful distinction might be drawn between laws that discriminate on the basis of religious status and religious use". The justices also rejected a case asking to loosen the rules around convicted felons possessing firearms.

"The Supreme Court's decision today affirms the commonsense principle that government isn't being neutral when it treats religious organizations worse than everyone else", said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman, who argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of Trinity Lutheran Church in April.

Roberts specified, however, in a footnote, that "this case involves express discrimination based on religious identity with respect to playground resurfacing".

IN much-welcome news, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that government officials can not discriminate against citizens based exclusively on citizens' religious beliefs.

For Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg it meant that: "The court blinds itself to the outcome this history [of separation of church and state] requires and leads us instead to a place where separation of church and state is a constitutional slogan, not a constitutional commitment". Chief Justice Roberts, however, limited the outcome of the decision by adding a footnote that this particular ruling is applicable on to the issue of discrimination for resurfacing the playground. The Chief Justice termed it "odious" from his interpretation of the U.S. Constitution in the state's decision to exclude Trinity Lutheran Church from any grant program. The reason? The state claimed giving the church funds would violate the state constitutional provision against providing public funding for religious organizations. "So I think there's a chance that probably from one of those states a case will come back to the court and they will have to decide on this question".

"This ruling reaffirms that the government can not discriminate against individuals or organizations simply because they or their members hold religious beliefs", Spicer added.

"The decision does not create a free exercise right to government funding of religion, but it unnecessarily blurs the line that ensures religion flourishes on its own". "The court says that violates the free exercise clause" of the Constitution.

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