By Hemant Mehta
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 in the Trinity Lutheran case to allow state funds to be made available to churches as long as it was for an ostensibly secular reason. The problem with that decision, of course, is that giving taxpayer money to a church would free up money the church could then use for its ministry.
One key thing to remember from that case is that it was all about the First Amendment. The church said Missouri’s decision to deny them funding for a new playground violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment — essentially punishing them for being a church.
Now a Missouri legislator wants to take all that a step further. State Rep. Lindell Shumake is proposing a constitutional amendment that would allow taxpayer funding to support religious schools, challenging the longstanding Blaine Amendment that exists in 38 states prohibiting taxpayer funding to faith-based schools.
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