Why the Supreme Court Trinity Lutheran Ruling Matters for Nampa and All of Us — And My Promise as a Councilman

In the case of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, Director, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 (Sotomayor and Ginsburg dissenting) that the state cannot restrict a program of distributing recycled tire parts for playground surfaces from a daycare because it’s operated by a church. This is an important ruling for all faith-based non-profits. Does this matter for Nampa? Yes, it does, as it matters for all institutions across the country that seek to improve their facilities for the common good.

My own church, Sovereign Grace Fellowship, used a Nampa local improvement program to secure services to improve some church property that impacts water drainage on the street adjoining our parking spaces. We are making payments back to the city annually until the bill is covered. This project is a win-win for all parties, including our neghbors who’d like to see water drain more effectively. This program is not the establishment of any specific religion. The intention of this program, much like the program in Missouri, is to serve the common good of all, religious or irreligious the same. The nature of the goods and services are religiously neutral. 

If elected to Nampa city council, I will make sure that our city respects all people, that programs intended to benefit the general public would not be withheld because the facility is run by a religious institution or a non-religious institution. The Supreme Court ruling isn’t an endorsement of Lutherans. Nampa’s improvement program wasn’t an endorsement of our religious convictions as a local church. This decision allows principled pluralism and helps clarify more specifically goods and services that are religiously neutral, intended to benefit all without discrimination. 

I appreciate your support for Nampa city council. The 1st Amendment matters. The function and administration of our city services will not discriminate against people because of their deeply held beliefs. I will be a strong advocate on these issues. 

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