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Church lawsuit against Missouri uncertain after rule change

Gov. Eric Greitens.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – The U.S. Supreme Court is asking the state of Missouri and a church that is suing because it was denied a state grant to make a case for whether the case should proceed.

Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday reversed a rule that prevents religious organizations from receiving state grants.

A Supreme Court hearing is set next week, but Greitens’ rule change effectively reverses the specific policy at issue.

Trinity Lutheran Church’s lawyer says the case can proceed because the rule could be changed with a new governor.

A spokeswoman for the Missouri attorney general’s office says they are still “exploring” the question.

The Missouri Constitution prohibits state money from being used for religious purposes, but the church says that violates its first amendment rights and equal protections under the law.