20 minutes | Jul 6, 2017

When a playground isn’t just a playground

Just over a week has passed since the US Supreme Court issued its opinion in the playground case, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer. The case centered on a small-town church with a playground used by local families. When the State of Missouri offered a grant program to make playgrounds safer, Trinity Lutheran seemed a perfect fit. The officials reviewing applications gave the proposal high marks. But that didn’t matter—it was a church that had applied. A rejection letter soon followed. Five years later, and not without some last minute drama, the court ruled in favor of Trinity Lutheran Church. For some, the 7-2 decision represents a sea change in how states treat and award funds to religious organizations. Others say a footnote in the opinion limits the impact to discrimination based on religious identity with respect to playground resurfacing. Erik Stanley, Senior Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom and Director of the Center for Christian Ministries, filed the case on behalf of Trinity Lutheran Church in 2012 and took the case all the way to the Supreme Court. He joins Freedom Matters this week. We’ll talk about the church, the case, and get his thoughts on the opinion.
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