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Friday, January 22, 2016

Playground Spat Looms as Key Church-state Separation Case

A playground spat over surfacing made out of scrap tires is looming as a pivotal church-state separation case, one that religious freedom advocates say could provide relief from what they see as government hostility toward faith.

The U.S. Supreme Court teed up the battle when it agreed last week to consider Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley, a 2013 lawsuit filed by the church after the state of Missouri rejected its application for a grant to replace its preschool’s playground pebbles with repurposed rubber from old tires.

State officials said the preschool was ineligible because it was run by a church, citing an 1875 Missouri constitutional amendment — known as the Blaine Amendment — prohibiting public funds from being used “in aid of any church.”

Three dozen states have similar amendments, but they “shouldn’t be applied in a way that would treat churches and religious organizations worse than everybody else simply because they’re a church,” said Erik Stanley, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel.

“Taken to the extreme, it could even mean that a state could justify not providing fire protection to a church,” Mr. Stanley said. “They could say, ‘That’s aid to a church. And so we’re not going to do that under our state constitutional provision.’”

More here


Anonymous said...

If they are tax free why should they get a grant paid by taxpayers?

Anonymous said...

Because it's probably on their property and only their parishioners using it.

Anonymous said...

It says this is a Pre-school center. I'd guess that means parents paying to place their children in the program.

Regardless, it's pretty dumb to deny them this material just because of their beliefs. Pretty spiteful.

It's not like they're going to use these rubber bits to evangelize the world.

It's for the kids.

Anonymous said...

If they paid taxes like everyone else then it would be OK to give them a grant. Trying to have it both ways.