It looks as though the highest court in the land will be deciding a case about recycled tires and a children’s park which will have massive religious liberty ramifications for this country. To some, the little playground that is at the center of this case might be the most dangerous playground in the country. Not because children get hurt there. But because it might just strike a blow for religious liberty and equal protection for religious people in this country.
The Supreme Court is finally expected to hear Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer next week. It’s a case that’s been put on the back burner, presumably because the court was split down the middle with four justices on each side. Newly sworn in justice Neil Gorsuch may very well be the deciding opinion.
Here’s the deal – Missouri has a program that grants money to non-profits for the resurfacing of playgrounds with recycled tires. Recycling is good, right? And playgrounds are awesome, right? But…and this is a big but…the state is refusing to give money to organizations that are religious by nature. Those opposed to allowing religious organizations to apply for the money say it’s an establishment clause issue. The Establishment clause in the First Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits the establishment of religion by Congress. So what their fear is here is that a playground for kids might establish Lutheranism as the state religion. Now, does that sound like a legitimate fear here?
Or does this case sound a bit more like straight up discrimination against Christians.