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.
CHIEF Justice Thomas???
I agree that the State discriminated against the Church in the playground case. However, I think it will be a long way, if ever, before the US accepts government financial support of religious education. The First Amendment puts a real monkey wrench in things.
Not sure of your intent here, “mikem.” However, the First Amendment has no legitimate impact on governmental support, at least in general, for religious education. The entire notion of “Church-State” separation is a construct, not in the Constitution itself, to control the impact of religious institutions. It is funny, is it not, that an easy help to children was denied by the State when many states fund, and thereby enable, sexual relationships and their results, such as abortion. Time to stand up “mikem” and stop governments from hurting the free exercise of religion.
I think his thinking has slipped in recent years. But I still consider Justice Thomas to be the best juridical thinker on the Supreme Court. I’d love it if he became the Chief Justice.
I dissent. Nothing wrong with the 1st Amendment if the Supremes pay as much attention to its guarantee that citizens are guaranteed the right to FREE EXERCISE of their religion in daily life as well as its command that the government neither establish a religion or prefer one over another. We are guaranteed the constitutional right to adhere to, and practice, our religion—and not as the Obama Justice Dept has argued—we are guaranteed only the “freedom to worship”. [Remember: the freedom of worship vs. the freedom to practice was a hallmark of the “constitutions” of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.] These two concepts most decidedly do not guarantee the same thing. “Freedom of worship” is the limited freedom to observe the…
How many conservative American Christians will applaud this decision when the local mosque submits an application for its playground? Or how about when the white racist organizations that operate under the guise of a church submit applications? Stay tuned!
Fred: your straw men are older than the Scarecrow of Oz. If Muslims want a school I can have no more beef than if Jews or Buddhists or Parsees wanted a school. As for organizations masquerading as churches – please specify.
Sorry, “Fred,” the SCOTUS decision is sound. However, there is a clunker of a decision issued earlier, Bob Jones University, who affirmed the loss of tax exempt status for a school that appeared to implement certain racially discriminatory religious doctrines. Easy to see, for example, how the Catholic Church might lose its tax exempt status by (1) not permitting women priests, or (2) teaching that homosexual sex is immoral and that homosexuals therefore cannot be married by a Catholic priest, that kind of thing.
Muslim schools should benefit from the decision. Unsure of your meaning about “white racist organizations” which would not appear to include any religious practice.
St. Chris, I honestly don’t think you need to worry about the Church being forced to ordain women, and if it did, you’d see me protesting against it [regardless of what my personal private beliefs might be about the subject]. The Courts have been quite clear that religions can ordain or not ordain anybody they want. Marry or not marry anybody they want. Give or refuse communion to anybody they want. As to the tax exempt status of Bob Jones….please recall that tax exempt status is NOT guaranteed by the first amendment. So the fact that BJU violated the terms of their tax exempt status does not mean that they had their first amendment rights abridged.
“The Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..”
First Amendment, US Constitution. For over one hundred fifty years, since the start of taxpayer supported [public] schools, this has been interpreted to mean no taxpayer funds for religious schools. Period. I believe the lawyers refer to it as ‘settled law’. If one wishes government support of all education, simply move to Canada. If one wishes complete ‘free exercise thereof’, one has to forego the related funding. Can’t have it both ways.
Don’t worry Fred – Caucasian Racists already control the ‘in-human rights; commission in Sodom by the Sea, and most of Hollyweird and other cess pits of ‘tolerance’:
OPPOSITION TO SB-421mSAY NO TO SETTING SEXUAL PREDATORS FREE TO RE-OFFEND
As Written SB-421 is a terrible Bill which will have a nightmarish effect on the ability to monitor notorious Child Rape-Porn Traffickers and thwart their ability to Re-Offend against most vulnerable in society.
I provide two glaring examples of the types of perverted abusers of the young, both Politically Connected to the highest levels of State and Local Government – and thus both in possession of enough Blackmail Dirt on current Politicians and Activists to gain them favorable treatment by a…
San Francisco’s Gay Icon Larry Brinkin Guilty of Felony Child Porn Possession https://www.cnsnews.com/…/san-francisco-s-gay-icon-larry-bri…
SF government again rocked by child porn scandal
(SEE San Francisco hit by suit from ex-HRC staffer
https://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=67851 /react-text = “long-standing bias against heterosexual males, and African American heterosexual males in particular,” )