Transcript Highlights From Today’s Oral Argument in Trinity Lutheran

By Don Byrd

Written by Don Byrd

Today’s U.S. Supreme Court hearing in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer concerns state law in Missouri barring government from funding religion. Trinity Lutheran Church, which was denied a government grant to resurface their church playground on this basis, claims the decision violates their religious freedom rights under the free exercise clause.

The Baptist Joint Committee’s Holly Hollman responded to today’s hearing in a new video. A BJC press release explains why Missouri’s rule prohibiting churches from receiving such grants is the right line to draw for the cause of religious liberty and should be upheld by the Court.

Below are some highlights from the transcript of today’s oral arguments. The Court first questioned the attorney representing Trinity Lutheran Church, David Cortman, and then the attorney defending the State of Missouri’s decision to deny funding, James Layton.

During Cortman’s questioning, he insisted that funding for a house of worship does not raise concerns requiring church-state protection if the government funds are directed at secular rather than religious activities, Justice Sotomayor raised the key issue of how difficult it is to separate religious from secular activities when it comes to a house of worship.

MR. CORTMAN: . . . I …read more

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