Is the Wall Between Church and State Starting to Crumble?

By Samantha Grant

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a decision that may have a major impact on the separation of church and state.  The case, Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, started in 2012 when the Trinity Lutheran Church applied for a government grant to reestablish its playground. However, the Missouri state constitution had a provision that stated that public money was prohibited from going to religious organizations.

 

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Trinity Lutheran Church, finding that the government cannot discriminate against churches simply because they’re religious institutions.

The subject of the boundaries between church and state has been a contested issue for years.  This is the first instance in which the Supreme Court has ruled that the government cannot deny a grant to a house of worship simply because it is a house of worship.

The Supreme Court saw this as a direct violation of the First Amendment, as well as the free-exercise clause.

“The result of the State’s policy is nothing so dramatic as the denial of political office,” said Justice John Roberts. “But the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand.”

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