Newly confirmed to the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch will be hitting the ground running. Gorsuch along with the eight other Justices of the Court will rule on many cases. Their decisions will shape this Nation. One of the first cases Gorsuch will be involved in will be Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley.
Trinity Lutheran applied for monies from a state grant offered by Missouri to nonprofit groups seeking to provide a safer recreational environment for children. It was Trinity Lutheran’s wish to replace the gravel on their preschool playground with recycled rubber. Although Trinity Lutheran is a nonprofit and did intend to use the funds to make a safer play area for preschool children they were denied funds due to their religious affiliation.
It is clear that ground covered with rubber is much safer for children than when covered with gravel. That is the only thing clear about the grounds of this case. We now have nine Justices well versed in the law to debate and rule on the legalities of the matter. We will have to trust them to rule appropriately.
All children require a safe environment to play in. To exclude children based on religion seems discriminatory. Safe playgrounds across this country are utilized by children after hours. Neighborhood children congregate at the closest one irregardless of their religious affiliations
President John F. Kennedy once said “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. If Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbus, Inc. is willing to step up to the plate and provide a needed service should they be penalized for practicing what they preach?
The issue is much larger than the needs of a preschool playground. Religious organizations provide many services. Homeless shelters, free meals to those in need, elderly outreach, food banks and much more rely on their generosity.
To exclude these bastions of good deeds from State and Federal funding simply because of a religious affiliation hurts those most in need. Although it may be due to the religious beliefs of those providing the service, that they do so. The services they provide have nothing to do with religion.