Saturday, April 22, 2017

NYT Editorial: The Supreme Court weighs the church-state division

By Editorial Board
The playground at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo. Credit Annaliese Nurnberg/Missourian, via Associated Press
On Wednesday, nine justices, including the court’s newest member, Neil Gorsuch, heard oral arguments in a religious-liberty dispute that, at first glance, looks unremarkable. In the interest of child safety, Missouri provides a limited number of state grants to playground operators to replace hard surfaces with rubber. Trinity Lutheran Church, in the town of Columbia, applied for one of those grants in 2012 to upgrade the playground for its day care and preschool. The state refused to provide the funds because Missouri’s Constitution bars spending any money “directly or indirectly, in aid of any church.” The church sued, arguing that the prohibition violated both the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. With Justice Gorsuch now on the court, advocates for the recently evolved, misguided notion of religious freedom are feeling a lot better about their chances.[link]