Greitens: Religious organizations can apply for state grants

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Gov. Eric Greitens

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says he’s reversing previous state policy and allowing the Department of Natural Resources to issue grants to religious organizations.

In a statement Thursday Greitens said that religious organizations can now apply for grants for programs such as playground surfaces, school field trip transportation and recycling efforts.

The previous prohibition was based on a state constitutional amendment banning the use of state money by religious groups to enforce the separation of church and state.

Greitens’ decision comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to consider whether a Columbia, Missouri, religious preschool should be eligible to receive money for playground surfacing materials through a state program.

The decision has garnered praise from religious organizations including the Missouri Catholic Conference, Missouri Baptist Convention and the Epstein Hebrew Academy.

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