Tuesday, June 21, 2022

"...Or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

The meaning of "this morning’s 6–3 Supreme Court decision in Carson v. Makin":
The First Amendment never uses the term “separation of church and state.” It instead contains two religion clauses: one that prevents Congress (or, since the 14th Amendment, the states) from passing any law establishing a state church or “respecting” such an establishment; and the other protecting the free exercise of religion from government prohibitions. A myth has grown up around Thomas Jefferson’s 1802 phrase “wall of separation” that treats religion, not as a thing the government cannot mandate or regulate, but as a kind of kryptonite the government must avoid any contact with even if it means separation of religious people and institutions from equal participation in what the state provides. That is not what the establishment clause was understood to mean in 1791, and today, the Supreme Court went further: It concluded that discrimination of that sort violates the free-exercise clause. ....

Both “separation of church and state” and “wall of separation” are, in fact, slogans rather than constitutional commitments. Allowing students to take state aid to a religious school on the same terms as a secular school does not establish a church, any more than allowing them to use Pell Grants at a religious college or, for that matter, allowing people to buy Bibles with their Social Security checks, establishes a state church. As Roberts summarized: “The State pays tuition for certain students at private schools—so long as the schools are not religious. That is discrimination against religion.”

Of course, the Founders expected church and state to be more separate, but then, they expected a lot of things to be more separate from the state; we have a much bigger government today. Then again, most public schools in the early republic were sectarian. Roberts emphasized that today’s decision does not require states to fund religious school choice — but if it funds secular school choice, it may not exclude students who choose religious schools. Religious believers may not be required to choose between the exercise of their faith and being treated the same as people who exercise no faith. .... (more)
Dan McLaughlin, "Supreme Court: The First Amendment Bans States from Excluding Religious Schools from School-Choice Programs," National Review, June 21, 2022.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. I will gladly approve any comment that responds directly and politely to what has been posted.