June 27, 2017

Another victory for religious freedom from the Supreme Court: the SCOTUS ruled 7-2 in the case of Trinity Lutheran v. Missouri that the state violated a church preschool’s constitutional rights by barring it from applying for a state grant for aid to resurface its playground with rubber from the state’s tire recycling program. The state claimed it was a violation of separation of church and state, but the majority wrote that “this Court has repeatedly confirmed that denying a generally available benefit solely on account of religious identity imposes a penalty on the free exercise of religion.” In other words, the grant wouldn’t be used to promote religion; it was just to resurface a school playground, and denying the school the same benefit as all other schools just because it has a religious connection is religious discrimination.

Interesting note on the liberal Justices: Sotomayor seemed to strongly dissent, Ginsburg joined her dissent, but in a hopeful sign for people of faith, Kagan voted with the majority in favor of the church school.

The SCOTUS also agreed to hear an appeal from a cake maker with religious objections to being forced to make same-sex wedding cakes.

As for today’s big questions (Trump’s travel ban and whether Justice Kennedy will announce his retirement), no word yet on either. Stay tuned.


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