The Playground CaseTrinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer

Latest News:
May 3, 2017
U.S. Supreme Court takes up Missouri case on church-state interaction
http://www.whig.com/20170502/us-supreme-court-takes-up-missouri-case-on-church-state-interaction
Apr 27, 2017
The Roberts Court, 2017 Edition
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/27/opinion/the-roberts-court-2017-edition.html
Apr 25, 2017
Legal Docket, the Monday Moneybeat, the road ahead for self-driving cars [Audio]
http://podcast.assets.wng.org/worldandeverything-2017Apr24-960debd.mp3
Apr 25, 2017
Podcast: Religious liberty at the Supreme Court
https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/podcast-religious-liberty-at-the-supreme-court
Apr 19, 2017
Is It Okay To Ban Nonprofits From Tax-Funded Programs Solely Because They’re Religious?
http://thefederalist.com/2017/04/19/is-it-okay-to-ban-recipients-from-tax-funded-programs-solely-because-theyre-religious/
Apr 19, 2017
4 Big Questions About the Supreme Court’s New Religious Freedom Case
http://dailysignal.com/2017/04/18/4-big-questions-about-the-supreme-courts-new-religious-freedom-case/
Apr 19, 2017
Missouri playground at center of Supreme Court church-state dispute
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/18/missouri-playground-center-supreme-court-church-state-dispute/100578996/
Apr 19, 2017
David Cortman, of Alliance Defending Freedom, Hours Before He Argues “Trinity Lutheran v. Comer” Before SCOTUS [Audio]
http://www.hughhewitt.com/david-cortman-alliance-defending-freedom-hours-argues-trinity-lutheran-v-comer-scotus/
Apr 19, 2017
What the playground can teach the government about fair play: Column
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/04/19/what-playground-can-teach-government-fair-play-column/100593508/
Apr 19, 2017
Argument analysis: Justices leaning toward a ruling for Trinity Lutheran on the merits
http://www.scotusblog.com/2017/04/argument-analysis-justices-leaning-toward-ruling-trinity-lutheran-merits/
Apr 19, 2017
What you need to know about the Supreme Court's latest religious liberty case (+video)
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865678068/What-you-need-to-know-about-the-Supreme-Courts-latest-religious-liberty-case-video.html
Apr 18, 2017
Religious Discrimination Case Goes to SCOTUS: Will Religious Nonprofits Be Treated Fairly?
http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/james-gottry/religious-liberty-case-goes-scotus-will-religious-nonprofits-be-treated
Apr 18, 2017
Religious discrimination in playground case no laughing matter
http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-judiciary/329212-us-supreme-court-should-make-missouri-cease-discrimination
Apr 18, 2017
The Religious Freedom Case Going Before SCOTUS This Week
https://soundcloud.com/fdrlst/the-religious-freedom-case-going-before-scotus-this-week
Apr 18, 2017
Protecting Religious Liberty Safeguards All Children on the Playground Equally
http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2017/04/19202/
Apr 18, 2017
Gorsuch and religious liberty: New justice could hear most important religious freedom case this term in first week
http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/04/18/gorsuch-and-religious-liberty-new-justice-could-hear-most-important-religious-freedom-case-this-term-in-first-week.html
Apr 17, 2017
Do Safer Playgrounds ‘Advance Religion’?
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/446736/religious-freedom-christian-school-government-funding-playgrounds-missouri-united-states-supreme-court
Apr 17, 2017
A Missouri church’s playground is now a First Amendment exercise for Supreme Court
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article144632539.html
Apr 17, 2017
Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch to Hear Religious Liberty Case
http://www.christianpost.com/news/supreme-court-justice-neil-gorsuch-to-hear-religious-liberty-case-180506/
Apr 17, 2017
Greitens reverses policy of providing state funds for religious organizations
http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/politics/greitens-reverses-policy-of-providing-state-funds-for-religious-organizations/article_4e0330bf-e3f7-5672-9993-2a958db16b96.html
Apr 17, 2017
Tire chips at SCOTUS, Russell Moore on Syria, Congressional recess
http://erlc.com/resource-library/capitol-conversations-episodes/tire-chips-at-scotus-russell-moore-on-syria-congressional-recess
Apr 17, 2017
Missouri Gov. Ends Policy Banning Church-Owned Schools From Receiving Funds for Safety Upgrades
http://www.christianpost.com/news/missouri-gov-ends-policy-banning-church-preschools-from-receiving-playground-upgrade-funding-180518/
Apr 17, 2017
With Trump pick aboard, top U.S. court tackles religious rights
http://religionnews.com/2017/04/17/with-trump-pick-aboard-top-u-s-court-tackles-religious-rights/
Apr 17, 2017
Is Trinity Lutheran's Religious Freedom Suit Moot?
http://blogs.findlaw.com/supreme_court/2017/04/is-trinity-lutherans-religious-freedom-suit-moot.html
Apr 13, 2017
NRB to Join Supreme Court Rally in Support of Kids & Religious Freedom
http://nrb.org/news-room/articles/nrbt/nrb-join-supreme-court-rally-support-kids-religious-freedom/
Apr 13, 2017
Newly Appointed Supreme Court Justice to Cover Columbia Supreme Court Case
http://kbia.org/post/newly-appointed-supreme-court-justice-cover-columbia-supreme-court-case#stream/0

Trinity Lutheran Church operates a preschool in Missouri. In 2012, Trinity applied for a playground resurfacing grant from the state. Obtaining the grant would allow Trinity to receive reimbursement for resurfacing its playground with a safer pour-in-place rubber surface made from recycled tires.

The state awarded 14 grants that year, but while Trinity’s application was ranked 5th out of 44 applications, the church was denied. Missouri determined that its state establishment clause forbids it from providing an available benefit to children—a safe playground surface—simply because the playground is on church property.

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left-qouteThe term’s remaining marquee case.right-qoute

- Adam Liptak, New York Times
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Meet Trinity Lutheran Church

Trinity Lutheran Church has faithfully served the people of Columbia, Missouri for over 90 years. Whether providing support for foster children, donating labor, food, and funds to a local county food bank, or helping with Habitat for Humanity building projects all over the community, Trinity Lutheran Church lives its mission to make disciples.

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Frequently Asked Questions

A.  The preschool has an “open gate” playground policy. It is used by the preschool students and open to all in the community. The playground is frequently used by children in the neighborhood after-hours and on the weekends.
A.   The state program provides reimbursement to non-profit organizations for rubber safety flooring for their playgrounds, using recycled tire scraps to make a “pour-in-place” rubber surface.
A.   To decrease the amount of used tires in Missouri’s landfills and illegal dump sites and foster children’s safety.
A.   The state ranks application according to secular and neutral criteria. Some of the criteria include whether the application describes the project in adequate detail, whether the project utilizes scrap tires from within the state, the percentage of low income families in the school and the community, and whether the school presents a detailed plan for installation.

Being neutral to religion doesn't mean targeting churches and people of faith for discrimination.

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