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First Liberty Briefing

First Liberty Briefing is an exclusive podcast hosted by First Liberty Institute’s Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys. In about 90-seconds, three times a week, Jeremy recalls the stories that have shaped America’s religious liberty, from the founding era to current legal battles and more. It’s an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people, and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
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Jun 28, 2017

The Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion in the case of Trinity Lutheran v. Comer in favor of the church. Learn more about the playground case here: FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.

The potential for scraped knees has led to an important victory for religious liberty.


On June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion in the case of Trinity Lutheran v. Comer. The court, by a margin of 7-2, held in favor of the church.

Trinity Lutheran applied for reimbursement by the State of Missouri through a program that would allow them to trade out their course, pea gravel surface for softer, shredded tires on their church-operated child learning center playground. But, Missouri rejected Trinity Lutheran’s application. Why? Because the state maintained that it could not fund grants designated for religious organizations.

 The Supreme Court found such a policy to be rank religious discrimination. As Chief Justice Roberts said, “The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has not subjected anyone to chains or torture on account of religion. And the result of the State’s policy is nothing so dramatic as the denial of political office. The consequence is, in all likelihood, a few extra scraped knees. 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.”

I agree. No state official should discriminate against people of faith, or the religious organizations they operate, based merely on their religious status.

 To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

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