Kagan Called A Pro-Separation Of Church And State Opinion Dumb

Secular Coalition for America writes:

In a 1987 dissent in the case of Bowen v. Kendrick, Justice Stevens, along with three other highly respected justices, addressed significant problems with a statute which gave government funds to religious organizations which in turn “educated” teens about sex and pregnancy. The justices understood that such a statute would inevitably lead to sectarian organizations using public funds to act on their religious beliefs, in contradiction with good public health policy. The justices wrote, “Where the targeted audience is composed of children, of course, the Court’s insistence on adequate safeguards has always been greatest.” The concerns expressed by these justices were well-founded, as one group used government funds to teach children about sex with the express mission “to make themselves better instruments in God’s plan,” and as “facilitat[ing] the evangelization of homes.”

The Secular Coalition for America is highly disappointed by Ms. Kagan’s response to a Senate Judiciary Committee inquiry during her Solicitor General confirmation hearing. Ms. Kagan characterized a memo she authored pertaining to Bowen v. Kendrick, while serving as a law clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall, opposing the federal funding of religious organizations as “the dumbest thing I ever read” and “deeply mistaken.”

In the memo she stated, “…when the government funding is to be used for projects so close to the central concerns of religion, all religious organizations should be off limits.” The Secular Coalition for America agrees with her original opinion as written.

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.