The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a major religious rights case that narrows the separation of church and state. The justices, in a 7-2 ruling, sided with a Missouri church that was denied state funding for a playground improvement project.
Writing on behalf of the court’s majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said that the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Missouri “solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer also backed the decision, calling it a “significant victory for religious liberty and an affirmation of the First Amendment right of all Americans.”
“The court recognizes the clear difference between the government supporting a particular religion and the government simply treating all people the same fairly regardless of their religion,” Spicer continued. “This ruling reaffirms that the government cannot discriminate against individuals or organizations simply because they or their members hold religious beliefs.”
The ruling will help religious organizations across the country win public dollars for certain purposes, such as health and safety. Furthermore, the ruling could also strengthen the case for using publicly funded vouchers to send children to religious schools rather than public schools.
‘Our religious institutions must be able to contribute to education and the public good—that is part of their core mission,’ House Speaker Paul Ryan explained in a statement lauding the decision. ‘When the government places special burdens on churches specifically because they are religious institutions, that is discrimination, plain and simple.’
President Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is also a prominent supporter of such ‘school choice’ plans. DeVos celebrated the decision as well, stating that it was “a great day for the Constitution and sends a clear message that religious discrimination in any form cannot be tolerated in a society that values the First Amendment.”
It’s about time the good guys get a win, and this is a BIG one. This administration needs more victories like these to show the world how much progress we’ve made under President Trump.
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