KFUO Audio: Supreme Court hears ‘playground case’ of Trinity Lutheran of Columbia v. Comer


The United States Supreme Court on April 19 heard oral arguments for Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, a case involving an LCMS congregation.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christiana Holcomb talks about the case with KFUO Radio host Kip Allen during a “Free to be Faithful” program.

In 2012, Trinity Lutheran Church and Child Learning Center in Columbia, Mo., applied for a grant through a program, administered by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, that helps pay for rubberizing playgrounds using ground-up recycled tires.

Although Trinity placed fifth among 44 applicants, its application was turned down because the playground is owned by a church. The state argued that approving the grant is using public funds to support religion and is prohibited by the state constitution.

Alliance Defending Freedom took up the case, which was one of the first cases heard with newly appointed Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch.

The LCMS joined an amicus brief on the case in 2015. 


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Audio interview courtesy of KFUO Radio

KFUO Radio, the listener-supported broadcast ministry of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, operates KFUO-AM 850 in St. Louis, Mo., and may be heard worldwide on kfuo.org.

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2 Responses to KFUO Audio: Supreme Court hears ‘playground case’ of Trinity Lutheran of Columbia v. Comer

  1. Celeste Lewis April 21, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    I am very leery of our Lutheran Schools accepting money in any form (milk money, playground equipment, etc.) from the State or Federal level. Our church in San Fernando, First Lutheran, had a big school. We did not accept any money from either the state government or federal government. We were offered “milk” money and other things. The reason why we did not accept was because once you “accept” something “free” from the government; then they can hold some control over you. Once the foot is in the door; it is hard to close it. We did just fine without their money!

  2. Tina June 22, 2017 at 6:54 pm #

    Would you also advise against accepting Social Security or Medicare? Would you disallow the local Fire Department from responding to a fire in the church or home of Lutherans? Police? Roads? These are all government programs. I do agree that churches, schools,Christians and all citizens should be aware of “strings attached” to any help, –
    government or otherwise. The freedom of thought, expression and religious belief that we cherish in the US cannot be a criteria for general services available for everyone. Alliance Defending Freedom is defending Trinity Lutheran Preschool. The LCMS or Trinity Lutheran is not paying for their own defense. I would encourage all Lutherans to contribute voluntarily to this wonderful group of defense lawyers and their associates!! ps. the new president of ADF, Michael Farris, is the co-founder of Article V – Convention of States. I would urge you to research and hopefully support this effort, also. God’s blessings, Tina

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