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Prelate: Supreme Court’s Trinity Lutheran decision is ‘landmark victory for religious freedom’

June 27, 2017

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the US bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, welcomed the Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer as a “landmark victory for religious freedom.”

Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Missouri, applied for a state grant to make its playground safer for children in its preschool and daycare program. Citing the state constitution, Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources stated it could not assist any religious school.

The Court held that the Department of Natural Resources “violated the rights of Trinity Lutheran under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment by denying the Church an otherwise available public benefit on account of its religious status.”

Archbishop Lori commented:

The Supreme Court rightly recognized that people of faith should not be discriminated against when it comes to government programs that should be made available to all. The decision also marks a step in the right direction toward limiting the effects of the pernicious Blaine Amendments that are in place in many states around the country.

Blaine Amendments to state constitutions, most of which date back to the nineteenth century, stem from a time of intense anti-Catholic bigotry in many parts of the country. We are glad to see the Supreme Court move toward limiting these harmful provisions, which have restricted the freedom of faith-based organizations and people of faith to serve their communities.

 
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  • Posted by: randal.agostini8563 - Jun. 28, 2017 6:44 AM ET USA

    Thank you Archbishop Lori. If Catholics are to be serious about the future they should support repeal of the Blaine Amendment in every State. It is the responsibility of Catholic parents and grandparents to ensure that their children and grandchildren receive a Catholic education, an important building block towards salvation. In most States Catholics are unfairly asked to pay twice for education - the fees at a Catholic school plus education taxes within their property tax.