Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tired Of Blaine Amendments

A Christian preschool in Columbia, Missouri will be at the heart of the Supreme Court’s next big case on religious liberty. The Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center was denied a grant from the Missouri state government because of its religious affiliation. The purpose of this grant was to give schools access to shredded tire material to replace gravel on their playgrounds. This is able to create a safer play environment for kids and also find a good recycled use for old tires. This school was ranked 5th out of 44 applications based on how many students would benefit from the grant; however, officials denied the application because of Missouri’s so-called Blaine Amendment.

Blaine amendments are named after former House Speaker James Blaine. Their purpose is to deprive any institution with religious affiliation from receiving any government funds. Most of these laws were passed in the late 1800s by legislators with anti-Catholic prejudice. In recent decades, these laws have been used to discriminate against religious organizations by not giving them equal access to government programs. Even “halfway houses” and soup kitchens have been mistreated under Blaine amendments.

Now liberals are trying to use these Blaine amendments to prevent a preschool from making their playground safer. The church released a statement saying, “Seeking to protect children from harm while they play… is about as far from an ‘essentially religious endeavor’ as one can get.” All Americans are given free and unrestricted access to police and fire protection simply because they are in America. Likewise, religious organizations should have equal access to these government grants to help keep their kids safe. The U.S. Constitution clearly protects religious organizations from being singled out for mistreatment. I hope the Supreme Court rules in favor of the school.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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