At Bangor Christian School in Maine, ninth graders are taught “to reject the teachings of the Islamic religion with the truth of God’s Word.” To work in the school, a teacher must state that “he/she is a ‘born again’ Christian who knows the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior” and “must be an active, tithing member of a church that believes in Bible”.
Similarly, at Temple Academy in Maine, teachers sign a contract acknowledging that “God acknowledges[s] homosexuals and other deviants as perverts’ and that ‘deviation from biblical standards is grounds for termination’. Temple will not admit children who identify as gay or who come “from homes with serious differences from the school’s biblical foundation.”
Leaving aside any opinions about what the schools teach one way or the other, many taxpayers may feel uncomfortable paying for schools whose moral outlook differs from their own and which, as a school policy, will only allow those who follow a certain teaching of religion may serve them. However, that is what the Supreme Court decided this summer in Carson v. Makin. Maine must use its public taxpayer-funded funds to support the inculcation of a worldly and moral view of a religion.
The Supreme Court has dropped the hammer, but as with many such sensitive cases involving the present and future of so many, the jury is still out in the court of public opinion. Is religious freedom better than ever? Has the wall of separation between Church and State remained sharp and clear?
For his part, the expert on the separation of church and state, Charles Haynes, does not know what to do now. Haynes, who, appropriately Washington Post“literally wrote the book on the subject for the US Department of Education with partners as diverse as the National Association of Evangelicals and the American Civil Liberties Union,” worries that decisions like Carson v. Makin and the highly publicized Kennedy v. Bremerton School The district’s decision, in which the high court ruled in favor of a football coach praying on the 50-yard line on a public taxpayer-funded football field, blurs the line between government and society. religion to an almost unrecognizable blur.
“What should I say now?” What can I say?… We’re now at the point where you’re wondering if there’s any Establishment Clause left,” Haynes said of the first 10 words of the First Amendment that prohibit laws that “establish” religion.
As America becomes more diverse by the day, the perception of many is that the Supreme Court has indeed opened the door. But to what? Towards a better recognition of the needs of all religions, and not just one? Will we now see devout Muslims rolling out their prayer mats on high school football fields? Will the Hebrew Orthodox schools be fully financed from state revenues? Or will it be, as critics point out, just another excuse to bully and bully minority students who don’t go with the crowd — as at a West Virginia high school earlier this year, when a Jewish boy was forced to attend a prayer meeting Christian against his will? Her mother said, “I’m not undermining their faith, but there’s a time and a place for everything — and in public schools, during the school day, that’s not the time and place.
It’s been a very hot summer with reactions to the High Court’s decisions, from the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) scathing denunciation, “Court’s no-nonsense approach to coach prayer will embolden those who seek to proselytize in public schools to do so. with the blessing of the Court;” to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, exulting: “This is a historic day in the life of our country, a day that stirs our thoughts, our emotions and our prayers.”
The debate over the question of how far apart the state and the Church has been around as long as the Republic. In 1785, in a rejection of a bill strikingly similar to Carson v. Makin, which would have appropriated public funds to a Christian school and therefore could have been interpreted as favoritism or sponsorship of that religion, the founding father James Madison wrote an enthusiastic “Memorial and remonstrance” against religious assessment”, which specifically provides for religious freedom: “This right is by nature an inalienable right. It is inalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds, cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is also inalienable, because what is here a right to men, is a duty to the Creator.
Due to the agitation of James Madison and his friend Thomas Jefferson, the bill was never ratified and the law was never passed.
Jefferson drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty in 1777 and coined the phrase “the wall of separation between Church and State” in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association as a concise explanation of religious liberty.
Are the foundations of this wall stronger than ever? Does it still guarantee genuine religious freedom for all religions – minority, majority and all religions in between?
It depends on who is talking. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), speaking at a church service in Colorado, said, “The church should run the government. The government should not rule the church. This is not the intention of our founding fathers. I am tired of this separation of church and state that is not in the Constitution. It was in a stinking letter and it doesn’t mean anything they say.
Historically, statesmen and legislators in our country have been unanimous in agreeing, at least in principle, that state-sponsored religion is a bad and dangerous idea, harmful to religion itself. even one that should be supported by its members, governed by its own codes and doctrine, and completely free from all government interference, including economic. As Benjamin Franklin commented, “When a religion is good, I believe it will support itself; and when he cannot support himself, and God does not care to support him, so that his teachers are forced to call for help from the civil power, it is a sign, I fear, that he is evil.
Source : hawkinsschools.net