BLOG6 Years Later, Trinity Lutheran Church Finally Got Its New Playground Surface

By Sarah Kramer Posted on: | October 11, 2018

It took six years and a Supreme Court decision, but Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia finally has a new playground surface.

In 2012, Trinity Lutheran Church applied to participate in the Playground Scrap Tire Surface Materials Grant Program, offered by the State of Missouri. The grant program, open to all nonprofits in the state, recycles scrap tires into rubber, pour-in-place playground surfaces.

Part of Trinity Lutheran’s ministry includes running a child learning center, which is open to all members of the community for children ages two to kindergarten. Between that, and children from the surrounding neighborhoods who use the playground after school and on the weekends, Trinity Lutheran’s playground is well-trafficked and well-loved. Desiring to provide those children with a safe playing environment, Trinity Lutheran applied for a grant to resurface its playground.

Trinity Lutheran had no reason to believe its application would be denied.

The state ranked Trinity Lutheran fifth out of 44 applicants – basing its ranking on a number of factors, such as the poverty of the surrounding area. But when it came time to award the grants, the state skipped over Trinity Lutheran. They awarded 12 grants that year, but Trinity Lutheran was not among them.

The state pointed to a provision in its state constitution that forbids government aid to religion. Because Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center is run by a church, it was disqualified by the state.

But the government cannot treat people of faith worse than everyone else simply because they are religious. That’s unconstitutional.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of Trinity Lutheran, and the case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In June 2017, the Court ruled 7-2 in favor of Trinity Lutheran.

And just this week, Trinity Lutheran finally got its long-awaited playground surface!


trinitylutheranplayground-stmtimg-101118

While this may seem like a small victory, the implications are anything but.

This Supreme Court ruling makes it clear that the government must treat churches equally and not discriminate against them simply because of their beliefs.

Unfortunately, even with this victory, that principle is being challenged more and more frequently.

In fact, across the country, we’re seeing numerous situations where the government is trying to control what churches teach, where they worship, or how they exercise their religious freedom.

That’s why the ADF Church Alliance was created. The ADF Church Alliance is a membership program that prepares, advises, and even litigates on behalf of churches as their religious freedom is increasingly challenged.

After all, society benefits when religious freedom—and churches—flourish.

Like many churches across the country, Trinity Lutheran Church has been faithfully serving its community for over 90 years – providing support for foster children; donating labor, food, and funds to a local county food bank; and helping with Habitat for Humanity building projects all over the community.

The ADF Church Alliance works to ensure that churches have the freedom to serve their communities and live out their faith, without looking over their shoulders in fear of the next legal threat.

Visit the Church Alliance website to learn more about how your church can become a member.

Learn More

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

More from ADF View All

Supporters of Religious Freedom Must Act, Not Simply Resolve to Act

Religious Freedom

Supporters of Religious Freedom Must Act, Not Simply Resolve to Act

Those who seek to put an end to religious freedom are not just targeting the ...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 01/16/2019 22:00:00 Read More

Why This Christian School Is Taking an 8-Year Legal Battle to the U.S. Supreme Court

Religious Freedom

Why This Christian School Is Taking an 8-Year Legal Battle to the U.S. Supreme Court

For eight long years, the City has blocked this Christian school from using i...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 01/16/2019 17:35:22 Read More

A Court Has Rejected This Planned Parenthood Talking Point as Completely False

Sanctity of Life

A Court Has Rejected This Planned Parenthood Talking Point as Completely False

Planned Parenthood's one defense has been to say that the films were deceptiv...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 01/19/2019 14:02:13 Read More

News You Should Know: Christians Fight to Keep Art Studio, Atheist Group Meets Its Match, and More

Culture

News You Should Know: Christians Fight to Keep Art Studio, Atheist Group Meets Its Match, and More

Did you see these news stories from the past week?

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 01/18/2019 21:22:06 Read More