COLUMBIA, MO. - The U.S. Supreme Court is taking up a case out of Columbia, Missouri. It's among the first cases Justice Neil Gorsuch will hear since his appointment.
The case involves a debate over the separation of church and state. In 2012, Trinity Lutheran Church applied for a state grant to put recycled tires on its playground to make it safer for children. An attorney from the organization representing the church said Trinity Lutheran met the criteria for the grant, but was denied because of the church’s religious affiliation.
The case is gaining nationwide attention over the issue of separation of church and state, and it will be among the first high profile cases heard by Justice Gorsuch. An attorney for the church tells us the case also has wider implications for religious organizations across the country.
“If Trinity Lutheran can be discriminated against in this program, then it would be just as easy for the state to say, well we're not going to send the fire department out to the mosque that's burning down or we're not going to send the police department out to the synagogue that's broken into,” said Erik Stanley of Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the church.
The state is arguing that the Missouri constitution strictly prohibits awarding any public funds to a religious organization. Arguments in the case are set to start Wednesday.
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