In two rulings released last week, the Supreme Court took a major step forward on education and religious freedom by ruling that states cannot discriminate against religion in education in the name of erecting a dividing wall between Church and State. If you turn on the cable news, you’d think the judges ordered the force-feeding of hosts to school children. In reality, these rulings are the modest culmination of a series of cases reversing gross miscarriages of justice from the 1970s. the pandemic.
The First Amendment prohibits laws “respecting the establishment of religion.” The state of Maine (in Carson v. Makin, decided on June 21) and a school district in Washington (Kennedy v. Bremerton, Monday) used this reasoning to respectively ban tutoring for parents who send their children to religious schools and silent prayer on the football field by a high school coach. The judges ruled that these were violations of the other religions clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion.