A Columbia, Missouri church won a U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday.
Justices sided 7 – 2 with Trinity Lutheran Church, which had applied for a state grant to put a soft surface on its preschool playground. Chief Justice Roberts said Missouri violated the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment by denying a public benefit to an otherwise eligible recipient solely because of its religious status. The state program reimburses the installation cost of rubberized surface made from recycled tires. Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources had rejected the application, in reference to a portion of the state constitution which says, “no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church,….” The supreme court ruling is based on the application of the recycled scrap tires as not in favor of any religious doctrine, and “wholly secular.”