The U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a clear win for religious liberty, ruling in favor of Trinity Lutheran Church against the state of Missouri.
The 7-2 decision is a victory against state-sponsored discrimination.
Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, said, “The exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it otherwise qualified solely because it is a church is odious to our constitution all the same and cannot stand.”
The case was the latest to test America’s commitment to church freedoms amid growing secularist pressure.
In Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley, the state of Missouri had fought to uphold a law allowing it to discriminate against preschool children in church-operated schools.
The broad outline of the case is simple: Missouri offers a program that recycles discarded tires into rubber safety surfaces for children’s playgrounds. It’s a win-win idea: old tires no longer clog up landfills and children are kept safe during play.
In 2012, Trinity Lutheran Church applied for state grant money earmarked to help nonprofits pay for the safety measure. Despite the request being ranked near the top of the heap for state assistance, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources denied Trinity Lutheran’s application precisely because it is a church.
The state’s Department of Natural Resources’ decision was based on Missouri’s Blaine Amendment, adopted into the state’s constitution in the late 19th century, a time when many feared that the growing number of Catholic schools represented an existential threat to public school systems in what was then primarily a Protestant nation. In an ironic twist, those same laws now discriminate equally against Protestant churches.
Missouri is one of more than three dozen states that still have “Blaine Amendments” on their books.
Full story at LifeSiteNews.