This is an addendum to I story I’ve been following. Back in April I wrote The floodgates about a case in the Supreme Court. The case was Trinity Lutheran v. Comer. Trinity asked for state funding to resurface a preschool playground. The state of Missouri said no because there is a provision in the state constitution prohibiting public money from being given to religious organizations and houses of worship.
The Supreme Court had to decide whether this conflicts with the First Amendment, “specifically whether Missouri was violating the free-exercise clause by preventing Trinity Lutheran from participating in a secular, neutral aid program” (The Atlantic).
Yesterday, the court voted 7-2 in favor of Trinity Lutheran. In his decision, Justice John Roberts said the state of Missouri “cannot deny public funds to a church simply because it is a religious organization” (The Atlantic). The precedent for the decision falls under the Blaine Amendment (1875)-so named after Representative James Blaine. The Blaine Amendment, which did not pass in the Senate and was so adopted in 38/50 states says, “no money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools . . . shall ever be under the control of any religious sect” (Huffington Post).
While the Trinity case may seem mundane enough, it certainly has caught the attention of many people as may set a precedent, and so narrows the separation of church and state. This decision also changes the landscape for vouchers being used public schools – an idea DeVos is already selling.
Meanwhile back at Trinity Lutheran, the state had already reversed its decision and the playground was resurfaced using state funding. So much for that.
These are my reflections for today.
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