Attorney visits to discuss Columbia church Supreme Court case

1 year 3 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, June 08 2016 Jun 8, 2016 Wednesday, June 08, 2016 3:15:00 PM CDT June 08, 2016 in News
By: Hli Yang, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA – The Alliance Defending Freedom attorney who is representing a local church in a Supreme Court case visited the church for the first time Wednesday.

In 2012, Trinity Lutheran applied for a Missouri Department of Conservation grant. The Scrap Tire Grant allows schools and parks to use shredded scrap tires for playground bedding.

The church’s legal counsel, David Cortman, said that, during the awarding process, the Department of Natural Resources ranked the church five out of 44 applications and made awards to 14 organizations.

But Trinity Lutheran did not receive a grant after the state said its constitution prohibits using public money to help a church.

“They said that, because of the the state’s establishment clause, the separation of church and state, that the church wouldn’t be able to get a grant, simply for that reason,” Cortman said.

A trial court dismissed the case, but the church appealed the decision.

The Supreme Court justices agreed in January 2016 to decide whether a state violates churches’ constitutional rights when it refuses to include them in general aid programs. 

The Supreme Court will hear Trinity Lutheran Church’s challenge in early October.  

Cortman said he thinks the state is taking “an extreme position.”

“What the state is saying is that the state constitution requires them to allow kids who attend a preschool that’s attached to a church, it’s okay for them to be hurt, it’s okay for them when they fall – not to fall on a comfortable rubberized playground,” Cortman said.

He said the state is saying the state constitution requires it to discriminate against religious organizations' daycare as opposed to secular daycare.

He said this case is not just about the church, the Learning Center or Missouri. Instead, he said the case is about the “entire nation” and how religious organizations are treated.  

“This is about the children and their safety,” Cortman said. “And it doesn’t make any sense to me for someone to say to me, ‘yes it’s okay for your kids not to have a safe playground, but we’re going to make sure other kids have a safe playground.’”

Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center director Gail Schuster said the majority of the children who attend the preschool aren’t members of the church or attend the church.

“This year it happens, during the summer, out of 82, we have four children that attend – are members of our church,” she said.

The state’s briefing is due to the Supreme Court on June 28.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director of Communications Tom Bastian said the department does not comment on pending litigation.

In a previous KOMU story about the case, Stephanie Deidrick with DNR said, “Language was added to the Scrap Tire Grant application forms to better reflect the Department’s understanding of the constitutional limitations associated with providing assistance to entities with a religious affiliation.”  

 

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY – Tuesday morning Attorney General Josh Hawley announced the arrival of a new initiative to help in the... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, September 26 2017 Sep 26, 2017 Tuesday, September 26, 2017 4:38:00 AM CDT September 26, 2017 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Show-Me Institute will host a panel on criminal justice reform Tuesday evening at Columbia College. The... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, September 26 2017 Sep 26, 2017 Tuesday, September 26, 2017 3:38:00 AM CDT September 26, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - A car parked at a gas station parking lot on Providence Road rolled from the lot and onto... More >>
9 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 10:32:00 PM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- A three car collision on Southampton Drive ended with one car flipped over late Monday night. Columbia Police... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 9:38:00 PM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – Food truck owners have contacted the Downtown Community Improvement District to increase parking options for restaurants on wheels.... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 7:11:00 PM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Agriculture and Taiwan have renewed a decades-long trade partnership and agreed to a... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 7:09:00 PM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Como for Progress held a rally Monday outside the office of Sen. Claire McCaskill’s office to support her... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 7:04:00 PM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - This week is National Banned Book Week and Jefferson City’s Missouri River Regional Library is participating in... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 5:49:00 PM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Sen. Claire McCaskill sent a letter to Envision Healthcare requesting more information on the company's emergency health care... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 5:10:00 PM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
HALLSVILLE - A car was destroyed after it burned down along Route B Monday afternoon. The car fire happened... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 4:09:00 PM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A southwest Missouri couple pleaded not guilty in the death of the woman's biological daughter, who was... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 3:46:35 PM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The hosts of the Black Women's March and Marketplace are currently arranging transportation to and from St. Louis... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 2:57:00 PM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A district court this weekend ordered a smoking ban for all Missouri corrections facilities, which was the... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 2:54:00 PM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
HOUSTON, Mo. (AP) — A fourth person has been charged in the death of a teenager whose burned body was... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 2:29:07 PM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The attorney general's office will investigate possible wrongdoing in connection to a civil rights lawsuit over the... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 2:23:00 PM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Recorder of Deeds plans to digitize paper records and make them more accessible to the... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 2:09:00 PM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A family in western Missouri has received medals for a Korean War veteran 65 years after... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 1:00:54 PM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – Jess Soehlke is like many college students: involved on campus, surrounded by friends, active in Greek life. ... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 Monday, September 25, 2017 11:31:00 AM CDT September 25, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 67°
8am 69°
9am 73°
10am 77°
11am 80°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00a
Today
9:00a
Megyn Kelly TODAY
10:00a
Today
7:00a
Maury
8:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show
9:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
8:00p
This Is Us
9:01p
Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders
7:00p
The Flash
8:00p
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld