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Missouri reverses course, makes churches eligible for some state grants

.- Missouri has announced that it will start allowing religious groups to be eligible for certain state grants, although the decision may not affect a religious freedom case before the U.S. Supreme Court this week.

“We commend Governor Greitens for reversing a policy of discrimination against religious groups applying for neutral and widely-available grants to do important work for the state of Missouri,” said Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with The Catholic Association, on Friday.

She responded to an announcement from the state’s new governor, Eric Greitens, that religious groups will now be eligible for grants from the state’s department of natural resources.

It is unclear whether the decision will affect the case of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, which is scheduled for oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The case centers around a playground owned by a Missouri church and used by its preschool. The playground is used by both members and non-members of the church.

In order to make upgrades to the playground’s surface as a safety measure, the church applied for a grant through a state program that provides materials from used tires to resurface playgrounds.

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