Missouri ran a competitive grant program to use scrap tires for playgrounds, but locked out all religious schools…because you know…Church and State. The Supreme Court reversed a lower court.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that churches have the same right as other charitable groups to seek state money for new playground surfaces and other non-religious needs.
By a 7-2 vote, the justices sided with Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri, which had sought a grant to put a soft surface on its preschool playground. The church was denied any money even though its application was ranked fifth out of 44 submissions.
Chief Justice John Roberts said for the court that the state violated the First Amendment by denying a public benefit to an otherwise eligible recipient solely on account of its religious status. He called it “odious to our Constitution” to exclude the church from the grant program, even though the consequences are only “a few extra scraped knees.”
The AP story indicates that vouchers are similar in nature — non-religious “support” for a religious school. This might actually hint at the direction of the court.
In dissent, Justice Sonya Sotomayor said the ruling weakens the nation’s longstanding commitment to separation of church and state.
“This case is about nothing less than the relationship between religious institutions and the civil government — that is, between church and state,” she said, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “The Court today profoundly changes that relationship by holding, for the first time, that the Constitution requires the government to provide public funds directly to a church.”
You would rather the kids scrape their knees? Don’t our police and fire services respond to churches? How about water and sewer? How far would these two go to separate church and state? And are the church daycare centers and schools already under certain educational mandates from most states? (Hint:yes.)
Sotomayor and Ginsburg are so afraid that public (citizen’s) money will go to religious schools…but they scream bloody murder if a religious citizen is concerned that public (citizen’s) money go to fund birth control, abortion or political action groups.