The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing in on the case of Maine families claiming that the state’s school choice program violates the freedom of religion.
Early reports indicate the court’s conservative majority appeared sympathetic to the case being made by the religious families.
“That’s just discrimination”
Under the state’s policy, students without a public school nearby are eligible for tuition attendance for a comparable secular school.
Some justices seemed to suggest that the policy is a clear violation of the First Amendment.
For his part, Justice Brett Kavanaugh invoked a scenario in which two neighbors receive different treatment based solely on their religious views.
“First neighbor says we’re going to send our child, children, to secular private school, they get the benefit,” he said, according to CBS News. “The next-door neighbor says, ‘Well, we want to send our children to a religious private school, and they’re not going to get the benefit. That’s just discrimination on the basis of religion right there at the neighborhood level.”
Of course, state officials argue that the policy is not discriminatory, asserting that the state would in effect be subsidizing religion if it provided tuition assistance to such schools. Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor echoed that position in her statement, asserting that all parents have equal “choice” regarding whether to send their children to state-funded secular schools or privately funded religious schools.
“Teaching while white”
While Maine’s stated intent is to avoid funding “an education designed to proselytize and inculcate children with a particular faith,” it seems clear that state officials are already embracing left-wing doctrines. For example, the state’s public school system endorses a program called “teaching while white.”
A new policy set to take effect next year will require all public schools that receive tuition assistance to adopt the state’s curriculum.
Conservative Justice Samuel Alito attempted to find out specifics about the inclusion of critical race theory within that curriculum, but the state only offered an evasive response.
For those religious families who want their chosen schools the receive the same treatment as secular alternatives, it might appear that the court’s liberal majority has a problem with religious education itself.
Justice Stephen Breyer commented on the teachings in one such school, asserting: “No gay students, no gay teachers, the man is superior to the woman, and a few other things like that.”