The conservative candidate for Attorney General, Josh Hawley, today applauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear a case on Missouri’s antiquated anti-religion Blaine Amendment and he challenged current Attorney General Chris Koster to stop defending discrimination against churches.
“Chris Koster knows this law blatantly discriminates against religious organizations and it’s time he admits he’s been wrong to defend the case,” Hawley said.
At issue in the Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley case is Missouri’s Blaine Amendment, a series of laws passed in many states several decades ago to block any state grant dollars from going even to qualified religious organizations. The laws, which historians say arose out of anti-Catholic bigotry, now serve to block education reforms like vouchers and scholarships.
In the Trinity Luther Church case, a Columbia daycare program applied for a grant from the state’s scrap tire program for its playground. On the merits, the church daycare’s application was ranked highly but it was denied funding due to a federal court’s interpretation of the Missouri Blaine Amendment. Litigation instigated by the church in 2013 has now made its way all the way to the Supreme Court challenging the outcome on First Amendment grounds.
“I’ve made my career defending religious liberty and constitutional freedom,” said Hawley. “I can tell you this is a vital case for all people of faith in Missouri. Blaine Amendments cannot be allowed to trump the First Amendment.”