3 Churches Sue FEMA for Religious Discrimination After Hurricane Harvey

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is facing a discrimination lawsuit from three different Houston churches. More than just homes were destroyed by Harvey; non-profit organizations, including churches and religious organizations, were as well. FEMA has a fund that provides for these groups: the Public Assistance Grant program. Per their website, “PA [Public Assistance] provides grants to state, tribal, territorial, and local governments, and certain types of PNP organizations so that communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies.” Organizations such as museums and zoos have full access to these

Supreme Court Takes Church’s Side in Crucial First Amendment Case

Before going on recess until October, the Supreme Court concluded its session this morning by decisively ruling that religious institutions can receive public funds to be used for secular purposes — such as improving safety standards for a playground. The highly-followed case, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, involved the question of whether or not public funds from the state of Missouri could be used to reimburse Trinity Lutheran Church Child Learning Center for new playground surfaces made from recycled tires. In 2012, the preschool and daycare center sought to participate in Missouri’s Scrap Tire Program and receive

Rally Draws Crowd to Supreme Court Before Start of “Playground Case”

Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for one of the biggest religious freedom cases to date, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer. The case will be one of the first for newly minted Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s and may produce one of the most important decisions of this term. In 2012, Missouri launched an initiative to encourage the use of recycled tires in an effort to make school playgrounds safer for children. When Trinity Lutheran Preschool requested a grant to participate in the program, however, they were denied. The state has defended its decision by citing the Missouri Constitution’s prohibition

No Playground for Christian School? Even Liberal Justices Baffled by Court Case

Trinity Lutheran was supposed to be the first big test for newly seated Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch: a religious liberty case which revolves on whether the government may deny grants to otherwise qualifying preschools on the grounds they are Christian preschools. Trinity Lutheran applied to participate in a program giving nonprofit playgrounds recycled tires — good for the environment and even better for the toddlers’ knees. Out of 44 applicants, the government ranked their application 5th in quality. But the grant was denied solely on the grounds they are a church-run school, and the Missouri constitution bans any kind