- Sep 3, 2019
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Their 'separation of church and state' is just ugly anti-religion discriminationOpinion by Timothy P. Carney - Tuesday
The Left often tries to make you believe that discrimination is the only sin. Any law or policy or custom or fact of nature that might result in different people being treated differently is supposedly intolerable.
Most Democrats believe “singlism” — discrimination against the unmarried — is a real problem, according to a recent poll. Any joking about your own COVID case is “ablelism.” And the charge of “transphobia” gets thrown around for almost anything.
But don't be fooled. Leftists hold one form discrimination very dear. In fact, it is almost a first principle of their ideology.
The liberal minority on the Supreme Court showed on Tuesday its dedication to anti-religious discrimination. In an angry dissent in the case Carson v. Makin, the three liberal justices chastised the majority for striking down a law that explicitly discriminated against religious institutions.
The liberal justices called their principle “separation of church and state,” and claimed it was rooted in the First Amendment. But the legal or moral principle they champion — and on which the Maine law just struck down was based — is simply that government ought to discriminate against religious institutions.
Maine has many small and shrinking towns, some of which are pretty isolated. Rather than try to stand up or prop up unsustainable public schools where there are few students, Maine pays part of the tuition of parents in these rural towns to send their children to their private schools. But the law has two limitations: parents must choose a school that is accredited by the regional accreditation body, and the schools cannot be religious.
So the state will pay tuition for any accredited private school, teaching any ideology or worldview, backed by any organization — unless that accredited school is something people recognize to be religious.
This is laughable in an era when progressivism has effectively taken the status of a religion. Liberal counties and cities aren’t even pretending to be value-neutral anymore. They are explicitly using public schools to advance their religion, which is characterized in part by its absolutist moralism on transgenderism and the primacy of racial identify.
But back to Maine: parents could even send their kids to school in Canada or Switzerland under this tuition program. They could use these tax dollars to send their kids to all-girls’ schools, or to French-language schools. The schools eligible under this program could also be boarding schools. Schools receiving this money could have no set curriculum at all, like Bluehill Harbor School, or they could be explicit culture-warrior schools, such as Walnut Hill School for the Arts.
They just can’t be “sectarian,” which means the institutions cannot profess a system of belief that involves God.
This is obviously illegal discrimination, rooted in a history of unsavory anti-Catholic ideology. Yet in their angry dissent, the liberal justices claimed they were simply upholding “separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build.” Of course, the Constitution doesn’t mention a “separation of church of state.” It only forbids the establishment of a state religion, and prevents any restriction on religious practice.
The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This does not entail that if you do not discriminate against all religions, you are somehow implementing a theocracy.
You would have to be insane to believe that opening up private-school scholarship funding to Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Orthodox, Buddhist, and Zoroastrian schools was “establishing” a state religion. You would need to be an idiot to believe that letting some parents send their state scholarships to a religious school — any religion — is theocracy.
Instead of insanity or idiocy, I believe the smarter commentators and the liberal justices are motivated by a secular understanding of purity. They believe that government money is somehow defiled if any religious institution gets its hands on it.
This is perhaps bigotry. The rabid secularists really do seem to believe religious people have cooties. You can see the bigotry most clearly when folks on the Left falsely assume that Christian conservatives hate Jews and Muslims as much as the anti-Christian Left hates us.
It’s an ugly bigotry against religious institutions that infects too many on the Left. They can call it “separation of church and state” but what they really mean is “religious institutions are gross and should be relegated to second-class status.”
The article is a brilliantly reasoned and scathing rebuke of the Court's remaining Marxist justices vis-a-vis the left's false and ideologically tyrannical doctrine of the separation of church and state. The decision is a long overdue adjustment against the trend set over 50 years ago by the liberal Warren Court and a huge step forward toward universal school choice.