Ground-up tires for a playground may not sound important, but these tires are actually the focus of a significant religious liberty case coming before the US Supreme Court. This court decision will basically decide “when states can provide aid to religious institutions” (aid that is given to other organizations).
The state of Missouri allows nonprofits to apply to the state for scrap tires that they can break down and use to make safer rubber playground surfaces. When a church with an attached daycare applied for the program, its application was ranked highly but was declined “based on a state constitutional provision that forbids state money going to support churches.” The church appealed this ruling and lost at both the US district court and the court of appeals. The case is now headed to the Supreme Court, where arguments will be heard in the spring.
In this case a church is being excluded from a generally available public benefit simply because it is religious. Really, it shows a disfavor of religion by the state—something it isn’t allowed to do based on the US Constitution. But it’s a phenomenon we’re seeing happen more and more in this nation.
This is quite similar to our Ark Encounter court case. We were discriminated against by the state of Kentucky in a neutral incentive program merely because we are a Christian group with a biblical viewpoint. Praise the Lord, late last month we received an extremely favorable ruling in a federal court (as should have happened under the Constitution), and religious freedom was upheld! Hopefully this church and daycare will also receive a favorable ruling. The fact that the Supreme Court has taken on the Missouri case is very significant—an encouraging sign.
As Christians become more marginalized and persecuted by the culture and the government, it’s vital that we stand with our feet firmly planted in the Bible. God’s Word offers the only firm foundation for us to ground our thinking on, and we need to be solid in what we believe and why we believe it. That’s why we’re so passionate about what we do here at AiG! We want to equip the church to stand solidly and without compromise on God’s Word and to reach out to a broken world with the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.