Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah—the senior Republican in the United States Senate and a principal author of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act—applauded the Supreme Court’s 7-2 ruling in favor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer.
The Court’s decision establishes that religious institutions with a secular intent may not be excluded from state programs.
“Religious freedom is central to the origin and identity of this country,” Hatch said. “If religious freedom means anything, it is that government may not discriminate against churches solely because they are churches. It is hard to believe that such blatant and intentional religious discrimination is tolerated in the 21st century. Churches and others who practice their faith are not second-class citizens but have the right to participate equally and fully in the life of our nation.”
Senator Hatch has championed religious freedom through his entire term of service. Last year, he delivered a series of 8 speeches on the Senate floor on the subject:
The Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer tested state constitution bans on all assistance to churches. Missouri provides a grant program to help organizations, schools, etc. that want to upgrade their playground surfaces with material made from recycled tires. Trinity Lutheran’s application was rejected solely because it is a church, and the state constitution (like many other states) includes a “Blaine Amendment” that prohibits even indirect aid to churches. The Supreme Court ruled that in instances of secular intent, churches may receive assistance from state programs.