By Roger McKinney
Both sides of a case involving a Columbia church challenging its exclusion from a state funding program have filed legal briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court as they prepare for what could be a significant decision regarding government funds and religious institutions.
Trinity Lutheran Church sued the Missouri Department of Natural Resources after the DNR in 2012 rejected the church’s grant application for recycled tire scraps to resurface the playground of its Child Learning Center preschool at 2201 Rollins Road. The DNR based its denial on the Missouri Constitution’s prohibition of public money to aid any church.
The church sued and lost in U.S. District Court, a decision the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. The church then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which accepted the case in November.
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