In landmark decision yesterday, the US Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to deny Government funding to a religious organisation merely because they are religious, if the funds in question are earmarked for non-religious purposes. The case in question centered on a church in Missouri that had applied for State money to help rebuild a children’s playground on Church property. Their application was rejected merely because they were a religious organisation. They appealed to the Supreme Court which heard arguments on the grounds of religious liberty, and separation of Church and State, and the Court decided in their favour by 7 to 2. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “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.”
Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee of Religious Liberty, released a statement applauding the ruling. “Today’s decision is a landmark victory for religious freedom. The Supreme Court rightly recognized that people of faith should not be discriminated against when it comes to government programs that should be made available to all,” Lori said.