The Department of Education said this week it will allow religious organizations to receive public funds for equitable services, reversing an earlier practice.
The move was in response to a 2017 Supreme Court decision that ruled Missouri was wrong to deny a church-funded preschool a grant to purchase recycled tires that would be used for the school's playground. The court said Missouri's denial was unconstitutional.
"The Trinity Lutheran decision reaffirmed the long-understood intent of the First Amendment to not restrict the free exercise of religion," Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said. "Those seeking to provide high-quality educational services to students and teachers should not be discriminated against simply based on the religious character of their organization."
DeVos sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the department's decision, citing the Supreme Court ruling.
"Permitting religious organizations and secular organizations alike to provide secular services to schools does not violate the Establishment Clause, and absent specific language to the contrary . . . the Department generally considers faith-based organizations to be eligible to contract with grantees and subgrantees and to apply for and receive Department grants on the same basis as any other private organization," DeVos wrote.
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