If you run a school in Missouri, you can sign up for a government program that helps supply tire scraps to create safe playgrounds.
Unless, of course, you're a religious preschool.
That's what is happening at Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center in Missouri. Here's their story:
Last Friday, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, responding to a brief that the state of Missouri filed in June.
ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman had this to say:
"A government isn’t being neutral toward religion when it treats religious organizations worse than everyone else. Missouri argues that it is free to discriminate against churches, even when it comes to neutral playground safety programs, because Supreme Court cases say the government doesn’t always have to remain neutral between religious and non-religious organizations. The problem for the state is that those cases actually say the First Amendment allows the government to give religious organizations more favorable treatment, not less. Missouri shouldn’t be trying to pull a bait and switch when it comes to what the First Amendment says and what the Supreme Court itself has said."
"To say that the religious and nonreligious children who play on this playground are somehow less worthy of this program than children who play on other playgrounds clearly makes no sense. Using the state’s logic, the government could deny fire services or water treatment for churches. That’s clearly not what the state or federal constitution was designed to prevent."
ADF Senior Counsel Erik Stanley, who has lititaged the case from its inception, sums up:
"The state admits that it blatantly excludes religious organizations from a safety program that has nothing to do with religion. That’s hostility to religion, which violates the U.S. Constitution."