U.S. Supreme Court to hear Columbia church's appeal
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will hear a Missouri church's challenge to its exclusion from a state program that provides money to use ground-up tires to cushion playgrounds.
The justices agreed Friday to decide whether a state violates churches' constitutional rights when it refuses to include them in general aid programs.
Ten states joined the Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia in asking the high court to clarify how states should treat religious groups in such situations.
Missouri's Natural Resources Department originally ranked the church's submission fifth out of 44 applications and made awards to 14 organizations.
But Trinity Lutheran received no money after the state explained that its constitution prohibits using public money to aid a church.
The church wanted to replace pea gravel in its playground with a rubberized surface.