Wednesday August 15, 2018
Home Politics With US Presi...

With US President Donald Trump Pick Aboard, Top US Court Tackles Religious Rights

0
//
45
President Donald Trump watches as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy administers the judicial oath to Judge Neil Gorsuch during a re-enactment in the Rose Garden of the White House White House in Washington, April 10, 2017. VOA
Republish
Reprint

The U.S. Supreme Court is set this week to hear a closely watched case testing the limits of religious rights, and new Justice Neil Gorsuch’s judicial record indicates he could tip the court toward siding with a church challenging Missouri’s ban on state funding of religious entities.

Trinity Lutheran Church, which is located in Columbia, Missouri and runs a preschool and daycare center, said Missouri unlawfully excluded it from a grant program providing state funds to nonprofit groups to buy rubber playground surfaces.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

Missouri’s constitution prohibits “any church, sect or denomination of religion” from receiving state taxpayer money.

Gorsuch, who embraced an expansive view of religious rights as a Colorado-based federal appeals court judge, on Monday hears his first arguments since becoming a justice last week. He will be on the bench on Wednesday when the justices hear the Trinity Lutheran case, one of the most important of their current term. Gorsuch, appointed by President Donald Trump, restored the Supreme Court’s 5-4 conservative majority.

Trinity Lutheran wanted public funds to replace its playground’s gravel with a rubber surface made from recycled tires that would be safer for children to play on.

The U.S. Constitution calls for a separation of church and state and guarantees the free exercise of religion.

NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.

At the very least, a victory for Trinity Lutheran would help religious organizations nationwide win public dollars for certain purposes, such as health and safety.

But it also could bolster the case for using public money for vouchers to help pay for children to attend religious schools rather than public schools in “school choice” programs backed by many conservatives. For example, Colorado’s top court in 2015 found that a Douglas County voucher program violated a state constitutional provision similar to Missouri’s.

Trinity Lutheran’s legal effort is being spearheaded by the Alliance Defending Freedom conservative Christian legal activist group, which argues Missouri’s policy violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of free exercise of religion and equal protection under the law.

If the church wins, “religious organizations cannot be excluded from general public welfare benefits that apply to everybody,” said Erik Stanley, an alliance lawyer representing the church.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

Referring to Gorsuch, Stanley said, “He has definitely been a friend of religious liberty. So we are hopeful that will continue when he’s on the court, and we’re grateful he gets to participate on this important case.”

In 2013, Gorsuch sided with the evangelical Christian owners of arts-and-crafts retailer Hobby Lobby and allowed owners of private companies to object on religious grounds to a provision in federal healthcare law requiring employers to provide medical insurance that pays for women’s birth control.

Gorsuch wrote in a concurring opinion that Hobby Lobby’s owners faced a choice “between exercising their faith or saving their business.” The Supreme Court later affirmed the ruling.

Missouri said there is nothing unconstitutional about its grant program.

“Trinity Lutheran remains free, without any public subsidy, to worship, teach, pray and practice any other aspect of its faith however it wishes. The state merely declines to offer financial support,” the state said in legal papers.

The church has drawn support from the religious community including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Mormon Church and Jewish groups.

‘Open the floodgates’

Groups filing legal papers opposing Trinity Lutheran, including the American Civil Liberties Union, said government funding of churches is precisely what the Constitution forbids.

“Forcing states to provide cash to build church property could open the floodgates to programs that coerce taxpayers to underwrite religion,” said Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU’s program on freedom of religion and belief.

Mach said three-quarters of the U.S. states have provisions like Missouri’s.

Alliance Defending Freedom, which also opposes gay marriage, transgender protections and abortion, has another major case involving religion that the Supreme Court could take up in its term beginning in October. It represents a Colorado bakery’s Christian owner who argues the Constitution’s promise of religious freedom means he should not have to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

Trinity Lutheran sued in federal court in 2012. The St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2015 upheld a trial court’s dismissal of the suit. The appeals court said

accepting the church’s arguments would be “unprecedented,” noting the Supreme Court’s 2004 decision in the case Locke v. Davey that upheld a bar on Washington state scholarships for students preparing for the ministry.

The justice who Gorsuch replaced, the late fellow conservative Antonin Scalia, was one of two dissenters in the Locke ruling. When a state withholds a generally available benefit solely on religious grounds, it is like an unconstitutional “special tax” on religion, Scalia said.

Judicial observers have described Gorsuch as very much in the mold of Scalia.

Missouri’s grant program was meant to keep tires out of landfills while also fostering children’s safety. The church’s brief to the high court stated, “A rubber playground surface accomplishes the state’s purposes whether it cushions the fall of the pious or the profane.” (VOA)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 NewsGram

Next Story

Trump’s Leadership: The First Errors and Achievements

One of the main reasons explaining Trump's unpopularity was reviews in mass media, according to the head of communications of White House

0
Donald Trump
Trump has not yet managed to implement the promised reforms of the healthcare system and tax legislation.

Nicole Lewis

It has already been a year since Donald Trump was authorized the Presidency of the US.
During the first year of the country’s leadership, Trump has 100% proven that he was one of the most controversial presidents in the US history.

We should admit that perhaps no other leader of the United States has caught the keen
interest of the worldwide public. It is definitely so. Based upon the intense debate in social
networks, some thought that Trump was almost a general who would lead the battle against the breach of justice, while others argued that impeachment was just around the corner.

Still, others argued that the billionaire president just wanted to have some fun, therefore,
decided to run for the presidency. After keeping an eye on Donald Trump for more than a
year, we can sum up the first results of his presidency – on November, 8; it is exactly one
year after the inauguration of the 45th US president. So, let’s see how the first presidential
year was for Mr. Trump.

Victory or a Disaster?

Nearly 60 percent of the US population is disapproving behavior, actions, and decisions of
Donald Trump, as stated at essay birdie. There are many “yes” and “no” about his policy;
however, everything is subjective. In this post, we will talk about what Donald Trump has
achieved and what areas he has not succeeded in over 365 days his presidency.

Economic Policy – Victory

Economic policy and the growth of the stock market are indeed the main achievements of
Trump’s domestic policies. Another important change is the elimination of many legal
restrictions for businesses, which has contributed to the development of the country’s
economy. Considering his decisions, it is a true embodiment of the slogan of Trump’s campaign “Let’s Make America Great again!”

Healthcare Reform – Failure

Trump has not yet managed to implement the promised reforms of the healthcare system and tax legislation. There is the law that he aimed to start to implement almost the first day after taking his post – the idea has not been funded by the Congress.

 

Donald Trump.
Donald Trump. (Wikimedia Commons)

Behavior in a Political Scene – Failure

The current US president sometimes oversteps the mark. For example, Donald Trump threw paper towels to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, pushed the Prime Minister of Montenegro, and constantly curses the media.

Foreign Policy Is in Crosshairs

It’s not so easy with foreign policy. The German Foreign Ministry Representative Maria
Adebar called the decisions of the US president unpredictable, and many foreign leaders
would agree with the diplomat. Constant suspicions in relations with Russia is only one point in the long list of issues.

His uncertainty in politics is related not only to the foreign policy. This can be referred to the healthcare sector as well. His positions on health, tax reform, and financial regulation are highly attractive to super-rich people. However, it is quite difficult to understand how Trump intends to improve the position of the middle class, which is the popular majority of the population.

Diplomatic Failures May Result in the Loss of an Important Ally

Only yesterday Trump promised to make the world better, and today he has already faced the disagreement of Iran and Australia to follow the US orders considering the president not very competent and experienced. And this statement seems to be true if one analyze his behavior while having a telephone call with the Australian Prime Minister.

Trump was very impulsive and hung up, which may lead to unwanted consequences, if to be more exact, there is a risk of worsening of relations with the closest US ally. Moreover,
before hanging up, he said that the conversation had been the worst one lately.

It is known that Malcolm Turnbull reminded about the negotiations with Obama and the
decision to provide 1250 refugees. The refusal of Trump to keep the word of the previous
president may lead to the loss of Australia as an important ally, which seems to be unwise.

One of the main reasons explaining Trump's unpopularity was reviews in mass media, according to the head of communications of White House.
One of the main reasons explaining Trump’s unpopularity was reviews in mass media, according to the head of communications of White House. VOA

Trump is the “Winner” in the Negative Reports

According to the research of T. Patterson, the professor from Harvard, D.Trump has bypassed all previous presidents showing the most negative results. Compared to Obama, who had three times more positive coverage, Trump has 70% negative and only 30% positive.

The crucial event that played an important role in these results was the order of the president to attack a Syrian airbase. Trump admitted that he this action was his answer to the Assad use of chemicals. Was he authorized to react like this? As a result, six people died, among which there were Russians, moreover, there were a lot of wounded. It is not surprising that after this order, the BBC coverage became 70 % negative.

Trump Presidency: Trust His Promises or Not to Trust: That is the Question

One of the main reasons explaining Trump’s unpopularity was reviews in mass media, according to the head of communications of White House. As the administration states, an independent study showed that the reports of Trump in 95% of cases were negative. However, the dislike of the media and Trump is mutual. Mentions of Trump in the posts like “Enemies of the American people” are not the biggest disaster in the career of the US president.

According to the political consultant, there are plenty of fake news in NBC News, CBS News, ABC, and CNN, but in any case seems that the president won’t be able to meet the
expectations of his voters. A successful businessman turned out to be not a very promising
leader able to normalize relations between the US and other countries, vice versa, his actions may result in the worsening of the situation.

Nicole Lewis is an acclaimed writer with https://www.facebook.com/edubirdie/. Her works have been published in the leading newspapers and magazines.