Supreme Court Should Make It Clear That States Have No Obligation To Fund Religious Schools

Supreme Court Should Make It Clear That States Have No Obligation To Fund Religious Schools

Missouri Taxpayers Should Not Be Compelled To Support Christian Preschool

Jan 15, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court should make it clear that Missouri taxpayers can’t be compelled to give aid to a religious institution, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The high court announced today that it will hear an appeal of a case brought by Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo., which sought a state grant to purchase recycled tires to resurface its playground. Missouri’s constitution includes a provision prohibiting religious schools from receiving public funds, so officials denied the aid.

“Religious institutions have no right to demand aid and support from the taxpayers,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Houses of worship must rely on support given voluntarily by their members.”

The preschool, which is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, asserts that the provisions of the Missouri Constitution in question are hostile to religion. AU rebutted this argument in a friend-of-the-court brief it filed jointly with the American Civil Liberties Union.

The case is Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc., v. Pauley.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.