DAVID ROSMAN: Supreme Court must uphold the First Amendment

DAVID ROSMAN: Supreme Court must uphold the First Amendment”

David Cortman, the church's lawyer, opened by telling the justices the school had been excluded from the state programme "solely because the pre-school is operated by a church rather than a secular not-for-profit". Gorsuch also ruled in favor of the right of a Native American inmate in Wyoming to use the prison's sweat lodge for religious purposes, according to CNN, arguing that "while those convicted of crime in our society lawfully forfeit a great many civil liberties. the honest exercise of religion should not be among them".

Synagogues, mosques and religious schools are among those that have received funding under the program, according to a brief filed by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America in support of the church's position. The church sued and lost in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and then appealed to the nation's highest court.

The constitution of the state of Missouri does not allow any religious denomination, church or sect from receiving money obtained from tax paying citizens of the state. The Court agreed to hear Trinity's appeal well over a year ago, shortly before Justice Scalia passed away.

"Last Thursday, Governor Greitens issued a directive prohibiting state agencies from denying public grants to religious groups on account of their religious nature", First Assistant and Solicitor General John Sauer said in the statement. "That's just wrong", Greitens said in a news release, adding that "today we are changing that prejudiced policy".

WASHINGTON-Missouri acted properly in denying public funds to a Lutheran church that wanted the state to pay for improvements to its playground, an attorney with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty insisted.

What does this have to do with Colorado?

The church challenged the denial in court, appealing all the way to the Supreme Court. He declared (twice) that the Missouri rule constitutes religious discrimination-which is pretty much the battle here.

As the newly full bench of justices heard oral arguments, an assortment of conservative and religious speakers explained why the Trinity decision is so vital.

This story will be updated after oral arguments take place.

Back in the courtroom, Justice Kagan had asked Layton why the state permits police and fire protection but not money to make playgrounds safer.

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Besides the Trinity case at hand, the Supreme Court in coming days could accept two other religious liberty disputes for future review: Whether a Colorado baker and a Washington state florist can be compelled to do business with same-sex couples, which they say would violate their "sincerely held" religious beliefs.

"They met the criteria, in fact, the state ranked them as one of the higher applications", says Dr. Kevin Pybas, a professor at Missouri State University and Church vs.

"Trinity Lutheran remains free, without any public subsidy, to worship, teach, pray and practice any other aspect of its faith however it wishes", he argued.

The governor's announcement came just days before long-awaited arguments that could have major implications for state constitutional provisions like Missouri's prohibiting public money from going to religious organizations. It placed fifth among 44 applicants, 14 of which were awarded grants, but the church was passed over based on a provision of the state constitution.

She later asked why the case is not already moot.

The Christian church operates its Child Learning Center to serve families, incorporating "daily religion and developmentally appropriate activities in a preschool program".

Reed stated, "If essentially secular programs are allowed to be banned for people of faith simply due to their religious faith, that's a pretty bad precedent to set that could be used by governments at the state and local level to discriminate against religion in all kinds of other ways". State officials have said the prohibition, first adopted in the 19th century, is consistent with the First Amendment's religion protections.

Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the most outspoken in backing Missouri's ban, referencing the difficulty states could face in separating out the secular and religious functions of religiously affiliated groups when distributing funds.

The way to avoid discrimination- and to promote religious freedom for all Missourians - is to ensure the government is not picking and choosing between religious groups at all.

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