Today is a great day for religious liberty!
This morning the Supreme Court announced their 7-2 ruling in favor of a Missouri Christian school after the school was denied access to a state program for playground resurfacing funds — because officials believed the grant would be an unconstitutional state endorsement of religion.
Why does this ruling matter?
Most court watchers expected the Court (with Gorsuch now on the bench) to side with the religious school on a narrow 5-4 ruling. But, the Supreme Court decided 7-2 in favor of Trinity Lutheran!
Experts agree the decision could pave the way for upholding the constitutionality of other state programs (like school vouchers) where religious groups provide a service for the public benefit.
Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the majority stated: “The exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution.”
NOTEWORTHY: Justice Neil Gorsuch actually wrote his own opinion in the case (joined by Justice Thomas). And the newest Justice noted that the First Amendment “guarantees the free exercise of religion, not just the right to inward belief (or status)” (emphasis his).
We at CatholicVote have been making precisely this point for years. Religious exercise isn’t just about privately holding a religious belief or attending religious services. You may recall President Obama tried to quarantine our constitutional rights by defining this broad freedom as merely the “right to worship”.
But the First Amendment covers more than just belief. It also covers our right to live out these beliefs in public, as individuals, as business owners, as churches, schools, and more.
Sadly, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued that Christian groups should be denied access to these programs — unless and until — they give up their religious identity. Both Sotomayor and Ginsburg represent a form of legal bigotry against Christians that must be opposed with fervor. To her credit, Obama appointee Elena Kagan joined the majority in favor of the Christian school.
IMPORTANT: The Supreme Court also announced today that it would hear another case on religious liberty when they reconvene in October.
Whether or not the government can force bakers to make cakes for same-sex weddings.
The fight for religious freedom presses on. We plan to file an amicus brief in this critical case on behalf our members.
You can count on CV to keep up the fight.