Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer

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Friday, December 07, 2018

Description:  Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent a church that runs a preschool and daycare center, which was excluded from a Missouri program that provides grants to purchase rubberized surface material (made of recycled tires) for children’s playgrounds. Although the state highly ranked the center as qualified for the program, it denied the center’s application solely because a church runs the daycare.

Discussion event: Supreme Court’s decision in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

WHO: David Cortman, senior counsel and vice president of U.S. litigation, Alliance Defending Freedom; Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo.; Russell Moore, president, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; and Kevin Smith, executive director, Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware

WHAT: Capitol Conversations with ERLC and Alliance Defending Freedom: The Supreme Court’s Trinity Lutheran Decision

WHEN: Thursday, June 29, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. EDT*

WHERE: Capitol Hill, Rayburn House Office Building, 45 Independence Ave. SW, Rooms 2044 and 2045, Washington


Adam Liptak of The New York Times described Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer as “the term’s remaining marquee case.” While Trinity Lutheran involved a state program to improve the safety of playgrounds, the case has far-reaching implications for churches and other faith-based ministries. The U.S. Supreme Court has now made it clear that the government cannot exclude religious organizations from secular programs just because those organizations are religious.

What will be the impact of the high court’s decision? What are the ramifications for the nation and, in particular, the faith-based community? Join ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman, who argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of Trinity Lutheran Church; Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, who represents Missouri’s 4th Congressional District (including Columbia); and other distinguished panelists at this important ERLC-sponsored conversation about religious freedom.

Members of the media are invited to attend. Please register via Eventbrite.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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Additional resources: Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer

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Friday, December 07, 2018

Previous news releases:

  • 2017-06-26: US Supreme Court rules for fair play in govt programs
  • 2017-06-26: Huge religious freedom victory at US Supreme Court
  • 2017-04-19: Preschool director’s statement following oral arguments at US Supreme Court
  • 2017-04-18: ADF to argue against religious discrimination Wednesday at US Supreme Court
  • 2017-04-17: Media call Tuesday with ADF attorney arguing for Missouri church at US Supreme Court
  • 2017-04-13: ADF statement on Missouri religious liberty policy announcement
  • 2017-04-05: Debate: ‘Tire Scraps and Religious Liberty’ at Newseum on April 7
  • 2017-02-17: US Supreme Court sets oral argument date for highly important religious freedom case
  • 2016-08-15: ADF answers Missouri’s claim that it is free to discriminate against religious preschool
  • 2016-06-29: Missouri tells Supreme Court that discrimination against churches is proper
  • 2016-04-22: Multiple groups voice support for preschoolers at US Supreme Court
  • 2016-04-14: ADF to Supreme Court: Govt isn’t neutral if it treats the religious worse than everyone else
  • 2016-01-15: US Supreme Court agrees to tackle religious hostility by states
  • 2015-12-21: ADF deflates Missouri’s arguments favoring religious discrimination in playground scrap tire program
  • 2015-12-08: Multiple states to US Supreme Court: Govt can’t show favoritism to non-religious preschoolers
  • 2015-11-05: ADF to US Supreme Court: Mo. can’t single out church preschool for discrimination
  • 2015-01-14: ADF to court: Mo. can’t arbitrarily choose which Christian pre-school qualifies for scrap tire program
  • 2014-02-05: Christian pre-school excluded from Mo. scrap tire program files appeal
  • 2013-01-31: Mo. scrap tire program runs down pre-school


  • David Cortman: How far do the religion clauses go? (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2017-06-28)
  • Erik Stanley: Supreme Court’s Trinity Lutheran decision was about fairness (Kansas City Star, 2017-06-27)
  • James Gottry: No swing vote on playground case (Washington Examiner, 2017-06-27)
  • Michael Farris: Supreme Court Trinity Lutheran Church decision - saying 'no' to discrimination against religious groups (Fox News, 2017-06-26)
  • James Arnold: At the Supreme Court… How the media reported on Trinity Lutheran (The Wanderer, 2017-04-28)
  • James Gottry: Supreme Court considers whether government officials need to play fair on religion (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2017-04-23)
  • David Cortman: What the playground can teach the government about fair play (USA Today, 2017-04-19)
  • James Gottry: Is it okay to ban nonprofits from tax-funded programs solely because they’re religious? (The Federalist, 2017-04-19)
  • Alan Sears: Gorsuch and religious liberty: New justice could hear most important religious freedom case this term in first week (Fox News, 2017-04-18)
  • James Gottry: Religious discrimination case goes to SCOTUS: Will religious nonprofits be treated fairly? (CNS News, 2017-04-18)
  • Christiana Holcomb: Religious discrimination in playground case no laughing matter (The Hill, 2017-04-18)
  • Nathaniel Bruno: Protecting religious liberty safeguards all children on the playground equally (Public Discourse, 2017-04-18)
  • James Gottry: The Supreme Court goes to the playground (Washington Examiner, 2017-03-22)

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