Oral arguments are scheduled to be held at SCOTUS the week of 13 December 2021 in an appeal of Carson v. Makin with a decision probably by June 2022.
…a potentially landmark case challenging a Maine law that bans families from an otherwise generally available student-aid program if they choose to send their children to schools that teach religion.
Link to the oral arguments audio:
The Institute for Justice is representing the parents (plaintiffs) who are arguing that the State of Maine is unfairly restricting their religious freedom.
I am a big fan of IJ, who have been strong (and effective) advocates of many citizen rights. But this case isn’t as clear-cut to me, and I think it hinges on the following:
Can a school, whose stated purpose is to promote a particular religion and view, operate educational facilities to teach non-religious subjects (like mathematics) without injecting religious aspects into it?
If they can, I see nothing wrong with allowing taxpayer funds, i.e., state-supplied money, used to educate students if nothing else is available.
If they can’t, I see everything wrong with the same idea.
I think this case might be a gray area. While it is difficult for me to imagine how a church institution could make mathematics into a religious subject, I can certainly imagine how they could do it with subjects like science/biology (universe origins, intelligent design) or history (how influential was the church or religious leaders over time).
Personally, I am unable to assume that a church-supported school can keep their hands off of any subject, since religion is their obvious reason for existence. But with our current right-leaning, Christian-influenced court, I think it is likely they will rule that the parents are right and the state is wrong.
If so, it just opens another argument. Is there any limit to what can be considered religious freedom? Baking a cake and opposing same-sex parents is now considered religious freedom. Where do we draw the line? Most religious positions look like superstitious medieval batshitery to me, but many receive legal protection anyway under the “freedom” banner without any serious examination as to veracity.
What do you think?