ProfX wrote: ↑Thu Jun 23, 2022 2:32 pm
https://www.au.org/the-latest/articles/ ... id-ruling/
“The court’s ultra-conservative bloc argued that refusing to tax citizens to fund religion is ‘discrimination against religion.’ It’s nothing less than gaslighting to cloak this assault on our Constitution in the language of non-discrimination,” Laser asserted. “If the conservative justices were concerned with discrimination, they would not have issued this opinion because it forces taxpayers to fund two religious schools that discriminate against LGBTQ families, one barring their admission and the other forcing them to undergo ‘counseling’ and renounce their sexual orientation or gender identity, or be expelled. One school’s stated educational objective is to ‘refute the teachings of the Islamic religion with the truth of God’s word’ – and now Muslim taxpayers will be forced to fund that school.”
Separating Church and State
https://www.crf-usa.org/bill-of-rights- ... -and-state
At this time, the Church of England (also known as the Anglican Church) was the established religion of Virginia. This meant that the Anglican Church was the only officially recognized church in the colony. Virginia taxpayers supported this church through a religion tax
. Only Anglican clergymen could lawfully conduct marriages. Non-Anglicans had to get permission (a license) from the colonial government to preach.
Thus, on the eve of the Revolutionary War, nine of the 13 colonies supported official religions with public taxes
. Moreover, in these colonies, the government dictated "correct" religious belief and methods of worship. Religious dissenters, like "Swearing Jack," were discriminated against, disqualified from holding public office, exiled, fined, jailed, beaten, mutilated, and sometimes even executed. Only Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware did not have a system linking church and state. After the Revolution, leaders like Jefferson and Madison worked to ensure freedom of religion for all citizens of the new nation.
A year after Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, he wrote a bill on religious freedom for his home state of Virginia. In writing these documents, Jefferson was strongly influenced by the 17th century English philosopher John Locke. In 1689, Locke had argued that "the church itself is a thing absolutely separate and distinct from the commonwealth [government]." Taking this idea from Locke, Jefferson proposed that Virginia end all tax support of religion and recognize the natural right of all persons to believe as they wish.
During spring and summer of 1785, Madison worked to sway public opinion against Henry's religious tax bill. In a widely circulated petition against the bill, Madison declared that it was the natural right of all persons, even atheists, to be left to their own private views of religion. He argued that throughout history "superstition, bigotry, and persecution" have accompanied the union of religion and government. He also asserted that Christianity did not need the support of government to flourish.
Baptists and other evangelical religious groups in Virginia also circulated petitions against the religious tax bill.
They viewed this bill forcing government into church affairs and threatening religious liberty. Overwhelmed by the negative public response to Henry's bill, the General Assembly did not even bring it up for a vote. Instead, Madison reintroduced Jefferson's bill, which called for severing all ties between the state of Virginia and religion. Jefferson's "Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom" was passed on January 19, 1786. This was the first time that a government anywhere in the world had acted to legally separate religion from the state.
"A Wall of Separation"
The Bill of Rights originally only limited acts of the federal government. Thus, the First Amendment's prohibition against laws "respecting an establishment of religion" did not affect what states could do. Consequently, seven states (including newly admitted Vermont) continued to assess taxes in support of Christian churches
. State laws also frequently required public officeholders to be Christians, denied the vote to non-Christians, and enforced the Christian Sabbath.
Gradually, all states followed the lead of Virginia in ending religion taxes. Massachusetts in 1833 was the last of the original 13 states to do this
. But some states still involved themselves with religion. For instance, several states made recitation of the Lord's Prayer and devotional Bible readings mandatory in public schools.
Not until the 20th century did the U.S. Supreme Court apply most of the Bill of Rights to the states. The Supreme Court has ruled that the 14th Amendment (ratified in 1868) requires states to guarantee fundamental rights such as the First Amendment's prohibition against the establishment of religion. This means that states, like the federal government, can "make no law respecting an establishment of religion."
In 1947, the Supreme Court attempted to define the "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment. Justice Hugo Black, writing for the court, held:
Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. . . . In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against the establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a "wall of separation between Church and State." [Everson v. Board of Education (1947).]