The Supreme Court has ruled that Maine cannot exclude religious schools from tuition assistance programs. In dissent, Justice Sotomayor said,
“As a result, in just a few years, the Court has upended constitutional doctrine, shifting from a rule that permits states to decline to fund religious organizations to one that requires States in many circumstances to subsidize religious indoctrination with taxpayer dollars.”
I think the majority of Americans, including most “conservatives,” will probably see this shift as a matter of fairness and not get too excited about it, but I am quite upset. It is profound. There are many who sincerely believe that the early settlers intended their new country to be a Christian nation, a notion symbolically supported by the 1954 inclusion of . . . “under God . . .” in the pledge of allegiance and professed by many evangelicals.
The truth is, the early immigrants mostly wanted to be able to pursue only their personal brands of religion without interference, and in some cases that meant the “freedom” to punish, torture and even execute the “heretics” among them. Fortunately, the founders, in their wisdom, understood that many had fled government persecution of their particular faith and knew that “religious freedom” ought to mean a personal freedom to believe whatever they chose.
Does this SCOTUS decision mean we are on a slippery slope toward becoming a theocracy? That’s about as likely as a self-promoting, psychopathic, secular, mendacious, philandering, populist businessman being favored by most evangelicals to be president.
Uh, wait . . .
What is the most-religious country in the world? I would have picked Iran, but a YouTube clip of a speech by Christopher Hitchens changed my mind. I would be surprised if you were to guess it. Whatever you might think of his personal views, he was a brilliant thinker and speaker. It is not a short clip, but if you are like me, it is fascinating brain food.