Christian Theocracy On The Rise: In a disastrous decision for the separation of church and state, the Supreme Court has ruled that taxpayers must subsidize private religious schools.
In a ruling that will open the door to more public funding for religious education, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of parents in Montana seeking to use a state scholarship program to send their children to religious schools.
The court said that a Montana tax credit program that directed money to private schools could not exclude religious schools.
The 5-4 ruling was penned by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by the court’s four conservative justices.
In other words, the Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue decision means that public dollars will go to private religious schools, in a clear violation of the separation of church and state, and a direct attack on public education.
However, despite the implications for public education and the secular values upon which this country was built, many religious conservatives are cheering the decision, as the ruling moves forward their dream of a Christian theocracy. For example, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was ecstatic about the ruling:
Today’s landmark SCOTUS decision in #Espinoza v. Montana is a huge victory for students and parents across America. Religious discrimination is dead. All states need to seize this extraordinary opportunity to expand all education options at all schools to every single student. pic.twitter.com/y2qIZLcJjg
— Secretary Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVosED) June 30, 2020
However, patriots and other reasonable people were quick to condemn the despicable decision. Commenting on the problematic ruling, National Education Association Lily Eskelsen Garcia declared:
Let’s be clear about what we’ve witnessed with today’s decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue — an extreme Supreme Court just joined the far-right effort to undermine one of our country’s most cherished democratic institutions: public education.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser released the following statement:
The Supreme Court’s Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue decision corrupts the foundational principle of church-state separation, just as Citizens United corrupted the political process. The separation of church and state is a fundamental American value that protects religious freedom for all. This court has overturned decades of precedent in an effort to privilege certain religious beliefs and have them dominate our civic life.
Forcing taxpayers to pay for private religious education… is a fundamental violation of their religious freedom. Because religious schools are the epicenter of religious influence on the next generation, it’s imperative that the members of the faith support those schools, not the taxpayers at large.
Additionally, today’s ruling has the effect of forcing Montana taxpayers to support a program that funds discrimination. Too often, religious schools reject civil rights for women and LGBTQ people, and promulgate religiously based interpretations of science, civics and history. Ten of the 12 religious schools in Montana’s voucher program had discriminatory policies, including permitting expulsion of students who identify as LGBTQ and refusing admission to students with disabilities.
Robyn Blumner, President and CEO of Center For Inquiry, an organization that advances reason, science, and secularism, said:
Let’s be clear about what just happened: The Supreme Court has decided that atheist taxpayers are now required to fund religious schools. Members of non-Christian faiths are now required to fund Christian education. The religious right has gotten exactly what it wanted from Trump’s justices: the erasure of a fundamental principle of American law, that no person shall be forced to participate in religious expression by subsidizing religious education.
Bottom line: In a disastrous decision for the separation of church and state, and public education, the Supreme Court has ruled that taxpayers must subsidize private religious schools.