“In one of the biggest religious cases of the term, the US Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a church-owned playground can be eligible for a public benefit program.
Chief Justice John Roberts, delivering the opinion of the Court, wrote June 26 that “the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran,” the church at the center of the case, “from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand.”
The decision in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer was about “religious people being treated just like everybody else,” stated Mike Farris, president of Alliance Defending Freedom.
At issue was a playground owned by Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo., and operated by the church’s preschool. To resurface the playground for safety reasons, the church had applied for a state reimbursement program that provides rubber surfacing material made from used tires. Trinity Lutheran had ranked the fifth most qualified out of 44 applicants for the program.”