Amusan center located in Missouri was originally set up

Amusan Afeez

Prof Steve Tran

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GOVT 2301

5th of
December 2017

essay about the Supreme Court judgment on Trinity Church case.

            The Trinity Lutheran Church Child Learning Center, a
preschool and daycare center located in Missouri was originally set up as a
nonprofit association, they later affiliated and runs their activities on the
church property. The center has a playground that has a rough pea gravel
surface beneath much of the play equipment. (Did The Supreme Court Just Open the
Door for Public Money to Go to Religious Schools?”). In 2012, the Trinity
Lutheran Church plan on upgrading their rough graveled playground surface, in order
to facilitate this idea, they put in an application to the Missouri state department
of Natural Resources(DNR) for scrap tire program that repay the amount of money
used to install recycled teared up tires which is suitable for a softer and
safer playground surface.                                                                                                Despite
the school’s high ranking and with their application categorized as fifth out
of the 44 applications, the state wholly denied them the grant because it was
affiliated with a church. The State refer to the Blaine Amendment, a 19th
century anti-Catholic and bigoted law that forbids religious organizations,
such as a Florida prisoner ministry, a Catholic orphanage and several religious
schools, from participating in public programs. In 2013, Trinity Lutheran
Church believed this was a glaring discriminating act from the Missouri State
and this made them sue them to court. Becket, along with Stanford Professor
Michael McConnell, submitted a friend-of-the-court brief defending Trinity
Lutheran’s right to participate in the state’s tire recycling program on equal
footing as all other applicants. Trinity Lutheran, represented by Alliance
Defending Freedom, has fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which
heard the case on April 19, 2017.eligious schools, from participating in public
programs (Trinity Lutheran Church V. Comer”).

            “The case focused on whether this decision conflicts with
the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, and specifically whether
Missouri was violating the Free-Exercise Clause by preventing Trinity Lutheran
from participating in a secular, neutral aid program” (Green). In June 2017,
the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that Missouri can’t discriminate against the
school in a program that provides shredded-tire resurfacing to make playgrounds
safer for kids. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. delivered the opinion of the
7-2 majority, “the Court held that the Free Exercise Clause of the First
Amendment protected the freedom to practice religion and subjects laws that
burden religious practice to strict scrutiny, First Amendment precedent had
established that laws that deny an otherwise generally available benefit,
because of religious status are unconstitutional, though laws that are neutral
and generally applicable may be upheld even if they hamper religion, the
distinction was whether the law in question discriminates against some or all
religious beliefs.” (Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer.) “In
this case, there is no dispute that Trinity Lutheran is put to the choice
between being a church and receiving a government benefit,” wrote Roberts
(Green). He further explained saying though the case involves Missouri City,
many States also engage in similar acts known as “Blaine Amendments” which is
based on ancient’s record that makes them have a cautious destruct toward the Catholics.
He said the Missouri State decision to deny the church a public benefit which
they qualified for simply because of their religious background is obnoxious to
the US constitution and should not be allow to stand. He pointed out the discriminating
action of the Missouri’s State by comparing them to Maryland for instance,
whose 200 years old effort forbids definite individuals from contesting for
public offices mainly because of their belief “The result of the State’s policy
is nothing so dramatic as the denial of political office,” he wrote.                  In
my own opinion about the case and supported by Supreme Court of Justice of the
United States ruling which further explained that the state violated the First
Amendment by denying a public benefits to a religious organization shows the
sign of discrimination, because churches are classified as charitable
organizations and many charitable organizations also benefits from secular
programs, therefore singling out churches to be ineligible for such grants
because of their religious backgrounds is totally wrong and biased, because
even if the charitable organizations doesn’t pay taxes, the people who either
work for them or their church members do pay taxes which makes me think that
they are fully entitled to enjoy the state benefits.









Green, Emma. “The
Supreme Court Decides a Major Church-State Case in Favor of Religious

The Atlantic, 5 Dec. 2017,


“Trinity Lutheran
Church V. Comer.” Becket,


Trinity Lutheran Church
of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer.” Oyez, 5 Dec. 2017,



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