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You know the separation of church and state that doesn’t exist in the Constitution and was dreamed up by judges who wanted the secular religion of the government to be exclusively taught to kids?
It just had a reality check:
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said schools that provide religious instruction cannot be excluded from a Maine tuition assistance program available to students in rural areas of the state, finding the state’s requirement that only nonsectarian schools can participate in the program violates the First Amendment.
The court’s decision fell along ideological lines, with the six conservative justices finding that Maine’s tuition assistance program did not pass constitutional muster under the free exercise clause and the three liberal justices in dissent. The high court reversed a decision by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the program.
“The state pays tuition for certain students at private schools— so long as the schools are not religious. That is discrimination against religion,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority. “A state’s antiestablishment interest does not justify enactments that exclude some members of the community from an otherwise generally available public benefit because of their religious exercise.”
This is good news for parents who want to wrestle control of their children’s education away from the State indoctrination and union grifting programs that define modern public schools.
The downside, of course, is that parents need to be on guard for the Empire’s Strike Back, which will likely be to use the public dollars as an excuse to force recipient schools to teach Critical Race and Gender Theory.
Still, the original concept of public education remains noble. Most families now, as a century ago, cannot afford to send their children to private academies. It is worthwhile to ensure our children have a moral and scientific understanding of the world.
But it is the parent’s job to teach morality, and they should have the authority to cede that power to a teaching institution of their choosing without having to sacrifice the convictions and worldview that have eternal ramifications.
In short, it is a small but mighty step toward putting power back in the hands of families by respecting religious freedom first and foremost over federal laws that have been created out of thin air by activists.
Some SCOTUS justices didn’t see it that way.
Writing in dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor called it “irrational” for the Supreme Court to rule that the free exercise clause prohibits Maine from giving aid to parents to fund a religiously neutral education.
“This court continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build,” she wrote.
No, Sotomayor, the Founders did not believe in separation of church and state. They expressly founded America as a Christian nation, but believed that no one denomination should have power to rule. Many of of the first European settlers were escaping the religious persecution of various factions in Europe, where believing in something like believer’s baptism or wanting to read the Bible in your own language was a high crime that would get you quickly beheaded.
Catholic authorities execute Anabaptists David van der Leyen and Levina Ghyselins in Ghent, 1554
This is why the Danbury Baptists wrote to Thomas Jefferson in 1802 with concerns about how freedom of religion would be interpreted by different factions within government. They believed that man should be generally free to live as he believes he should according to his beliefs, and that “the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbors.”
Many churches were intertwined with local governance in the colonies. It was common, say, for there to be an Anglican minister who was directly paid out of the town’s public tax dollars for his service.
Some, like the Baptists and other early evangelicals that sprang out of the Great Awakening in the 18th century, refused to pay taxes to support a minister of a different denomination who was entwined with politicians. They were regularly thrown in prison for such defiance.
Jonathan Edwards has thoughts
Jefferson and other elites were adherents of Deism, which ran counter to the evangelical movement’s goals of reigniting the Early Church’s zeal to spread the Gospel per Jesus’ explicit commands. Deism saw God as a distant clockmaker who created us with intellect and reason and ordered the world according to Natural Laws, but has left us to live as we see fit.
The Danbury Baptists were rightly concerned that the elitist Deists might persecute their attempts to spread the Gospel, or that more traditional denominations with practices intertwined with Medieval life and hierarchy might be given power over them.
Instead, this is what Jefferson wrote:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
In essence, he was ensuring that no one religion would be shoved down the throat of citizens against their conscience – you know, kind of like rainbow flags and gender pronoun lessons and Marxist studies about you’re evil based on the color of your skin.
Sotomayor and other lefties are ignorant of this. They do not realize that separation of church and state is not meant to be a vacuum where religion does not exist.
- Oh, you believe in tradition secular humanism with a blend of liberal Enlightenment principles and post-modernistic determinism? That’s a religion.
- You don’t believe in a God and think man is just a meat computer with no free will who lives out his biological imperatives before collapsing into stardust? That’s a religion.
- You believe that reality is subjective and that the most important “truth” is to be tolerant of all truths except the truths that say truth is objective? That’s a religion.
- You think sexual and racial identity are the most important aspects of a person and that schools should be forced to catechize children in the language, rites, and traditions of this teaching? That’s a religion.
- You think material greed is being caused by the exchange of goods and services in the market, and you believe we need a powerful government to ensure everyone has equal outcomes for a fair and just world? That’s a religion.
People like Sotomayor fancy themselves objective because they are secular, but nothing could be further from the truth.
The question is not one of removing religion from politics (an impossibility), but allowing all religious thought to be openly discussed and practiced in all aspects of the public sphere. We tend to get weighed down by nuance – what if the Satanists want to have human sacrifices in the park or someone says other religions aren’t included or demands their employer let them hand out gospel tracts at their workplace? – when instead we need to recognize what Jefferson said we should work toward “the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights.”
This decision by the Court is therefore a good step in the right direction to remembering the vision of our Founders.
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