Monday, September 30, 2019

Supreme Court case may force states to fund religious education

Taxpayer funding of religious schools is banned under the Constitution's safeguard of separation of church and state. This little factoid is often overlooked by our scuzz-a-luzz gaslighting media and right-wing jurists.

Taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend religious schools? The Constitution says they're illegal. Period. End of story. It shouldn't even be subject to debate, because the Constitution means what it says.

But now the Far Right wants the Supreme Court to give free Toy Money to private religious schools even if the state and its voters don't want to. Not long ago - in the case of Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue - the Montana Supreme Court ruled that it violates the Montana Constitution to underwrite religious education with taxpayer funds. That was Montana's decision.

Petitioners laughably argue that the U.S. Constitution not only permits the government to fund religious schools but also requires it. They say they're being "discriminated" against because Montana won't give religious schools money.

Don't laugh too hard. This is a serious matter. The Supremes rightly ruled over a decade ago that states were allowed to limit funding religious schools in programs like this. But the Supreme Court has shown growing disregard for constitutional law in the years since. That's why petitioners are instead citing the court's outrageous 2017 ruling in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer - in which the state of Missouri was forced to buy a playground surface for a church. Even then, the petitioners don't seem to have a case - unless of course a rogue Supreme Court once again makes up its own laws.

Another example of "sates'' rights for me, not for thee."


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