Gorsuch Could Be Deciding Vote to Allow Public Funds for Mosque Construction

Separation of Church and State in Peril

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that on April 19 the Supreme Court, now conservatively buttressed by newly sworn-in Justice Neil Gorsuch, will likely hear a case that “could mark a major shift in public funding for religious schools.”

The case concerns the Trinity Lutheran Church which “operates a daycare and preschool center in Columbia, Mo., and it applied to a state program that donates old tires used for ‘rubberizing’ playgrounds. Other nonprofits could obtain the tires, but Missouri officials turned down Trinity’s application because of the state’s ban on funding for churches.”

“The church is asking the court for the first time to force state taxpayers to give direct grants to houses of worship,” said Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU’s Program on Freedom of Religion.

“About three-fourths of states have constitutions that prohibit spending taxpayer money ‘directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religion.’ ”

A ruling in favor of Trinity would, conceivably, steer public funds toward mosques, synagogues, churches and temples of all denominations.

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