Supreme Court Will Decide Constitutionality of Tuition Assistance for Private Religious Schools

Supreme Court Will Decide Constitutionality of Tuition Assistance for Private Religious Schools

( – Over the last twenty years, society has become increasingly less tolerant of religion in America. In the early 2000s, there was a cultural battle over nativity scenes and political correctness about saying “Merry Christmas.” In 2010, Obamacare mandated that employers must cover abortions through insurance. It took an act of the Supreme Court to overturn the provision in the law to protect religious liberties. In 2019, the court ruled for a baker who objected to baking a cake for a gay wedding based on his religious beliefs. In 2020, the High Court moved to protect religious freedoms from politicians who forced church doors closed during the height of pandemic shutdowns but allowed unfettered access to most businesses.

On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court heard a case after parents sued the state of Maine, saying it violated their religious freedoms and equal protection rights. Carson v. Makin is similar to many legal issues over the last few years where the Supreme Court decided how to balance secular and religious rights. This case is unique because it’s a classic separation of church and state argument. To understand it better, one needs to know what that actually means, not what Liberals want you to believe.

Carson v. Makin Is an Important Case

The case centers on Maine’s school tuition payment program. In many rural areas of the state, there are no public schools for a limited number of students. In the absence of public schools, Maine law allows parents to send their kids to non-religious private schools, and the state pays for the tuition. However, two parents sued when they said the tuition payment program violated their Constitutional religious rights.

Maine argues lawmakers designed the tuition program to help students obtain an equivalent education in private schools to what they would receive in public schools. The state believes the funding should go towards non-sectarian education and expose students to various viewpoints that don’t promote one faith.

To that point, Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked Maine’s attorneys how the state would know if a school taught all religions are biased or bigoted? Essentially, she picked at the state’s policy requiring a religion-neutral position. She hinted the state must proactively measure subjective criteria to determine if a non-religious school teaches a religious bias because the state automatically denies a religious school funding.

The Court seemed to be leaning in favor of the plaintiffs.

Separation of Church and State at Play

Advocates of separation of church and state often revise history to conclude there cannot be a place for religion in the public square, government, or education. The US Constitution does not specifically use the phrase, and history is the context. In the 1600s and 1700s, many fled England to practice their view of Christianity freely in the new world. That created different types of faith across the colonies. The South was primarily Anabaptist. New England was Puritan, except for Rhode Island, which was founded as a colony for all religions. Pennsylvania was open to all faiths as well. Maryland was overwhelmingly Catholic.

In England, there was one church, the Church of England, and the King was its head. He had total authority over the state and the affairs of the church. Through the Constitution, the framers declared the government would not establish a national religion and could not interfere with its exercise. It’s much more accurate to say the Constitution promotes the freedom of religion and doesn’t allow the federal government to inhibit, obstruct, suppress, discourage, or impede religion.

It doesn’t say a religious person could not participate in government or public life. The goal was not to stop people from sharing their views in government. It was to protect the people from the government. The term separation of church and state comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a church in Danbury, Connecticut. Jefferson said he intended the wall between the two to protect the church, not the government. It wasn’t until the mid to late 1900s that today’s redefinition of Jefferson’s words took shape among Liberal scholars, think tanks, and activist groups.

So, what do you think? Should the government protect people from religion, or is it the other way around? That’s the heart of the issue the Supreme Court has been deciding for nearly a decade. They continually arrive at the latter.

Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst

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