Written by Don Byrd
All this week, SCOTUSblog is hosting an online symposium about the upcoming Trinity Lutheran case. Today, they posted a contribution from Holly Hollman, General Counsel for the Baptist Joint Committee, which filed an amicus brief in the case.
Trinity Lutheran, you may recall, involves the State of Missouri’s refusal to award the church a grant as part of the state’s playground resurfacing program. Missouri denied the grant out of concern that such funding would violate the state constitution’s prohibition on aid to religion. In the brief, Hollman and the BJC urged the Supreme Court to reject state funding of churches, and to allow room for state provisions like Missouri’s to protect against the establishment of religion even more strongly than the U.S. Constitution requires.
Here is an excerpt from Hollman’s symposium piece:
Missouri is not preventing Trinity Lutheran Church from building, improving, or operating its facilities consistent with its religious calling. Nor does Missouri prevent the church from having a playground or preschool and operating them consistent with its ministry priorities and community outreach efforts. Churches may choose to insulate themselves and their property or to throw open the gates to all who would enter. Church-owned facilities are not readily segregated between religious and secular uses, and the state should not be involved in deciding when such property is sufficiently dedicated to the public use or separated from the church’s core religious expression.
Recasting Missouri’s constitutional commitment to greater “no establishment” protections than in the U.S. Constitution as constitutionally suspect, hostile, or discriminatory should be categorically rejected.
Read the whole thing. And see all the contributions in the SCOTUSblog Trinity Lutheran symposium.
The Supreme Court oral arguments in Trinity Lutheran will take place this fall.