Vice President Mike Pence is sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas as this wife Karen holds the bible during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Hashtag stirs debate over role of Christian schools in US

NEW YORK (AP) — For their supporters, the thousands of Christian schools across America are literally a blessing — a place where children can learn in accordance with biblical teachings, untainted by the secular norms of public schools.

To critics, many of these Christian schools venture too often into indoctrination, with teachings that can misrepresent science and history and potentially breed intolerance toward people with different outlooks.

“These schools are front and center in the politicization of knowledge and that’s problematic,” said Julie Ingersoll, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Florida.

The polarized views have been highlighted in recent days after the appearance of an #ExposeChristianSchools hashtag on Twitter. It was introduced by Chris Stroop, an Indianapolis-based writer and activist, on Jan. 18, shortly after news broke that Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, would be teaching at a Christian school in northern Virginia that lists “homosexual or lesbian sexual activity” as among the disqualifying criteria for prospective employees.

Stroop, 38, calls himself an “ex-evangelical.” He says he attended Christian schools in Indiana and Colorado almost continuously from first grade through high school and recalls pervasive messaging that demeaned LGBT people and discouraged the empowerment of women.

“Not everything about it was bad — I had teachers I liked who encouraged me academically,” said Stroop, who went on to earn a Ph.D. at Stanford. “But I don’t think education as indoctrination is right.”

The news about Karen Pence’s teaching job was quickly followed by debate over the behavior of boys from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky during a visit to Washington, D.C. While opinions varied widely as to whether the boys had behaved badly, that incident further fueled debate over faith-based schools.

Within days, there were thousands of responses to #ExposeChristianSchools on Twitter, including many personal stories of bad experiences by people who attended them.

One man said his school required students to sign an agreement promising not to listen to “worldly” music. Others faulted their curriculum, such as a Christian biology textbook that cited Scotland’s fabled Loch Ness Monster as evidence of flaws in Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Even as the critiques multiplied, many people took to Twitter to defend Christian schools. Among them was Greg Lukianoff, an attorney active in promoting freedom of speech on college campuses. He said he was an “outspoken atheist” beginning in the seventh grade and frequently skipped school.

“Only as an adult did I realize how kind & tolerant my Catholic high school was towards me,” he tweeted.

In a telephone interview Friday, Lukianoff said he had forged close friendships with people from religious and secular schools, and felt it was unproductive to generalize about them.

Even Brian Toale, a 65-year-old New Yorker who says he was repeatedly sexually abused in the early 1970s by a staffer at his Catholic high school on Long Island, recalls many positive aspects of his school years.

“The education itself was top notch,” he said. “I did have several extracurricular activities where I learned stuff and made friends I still have today.”

But Toale, who eventually converted to Judaism, says the school administration failed to properly vet the person who abused him, and later treated him with disdain when he reported the abuse.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 5.9 million students — a tenth of the national prekindergarten through 12th grade total — attend private schools in the U.S. About three-quarters of them attend one of the roughly 22,000 Christian schools.

By far, the Catholic Church accounts for the biggest share of this group, operating more than 6,300 schools serving more than 1.8 million students — about 20 percent of them non-Catholics. The totals are down sharply from the early 1960s when there were more than 5.2 million students in almost 13,000 Catholic schools nationwide.

The Council for American Private Education identifies 4,154 schools as “conservative Christian,” serving about 664,000 students.

Julie Ingersoll, the religious studies professor, says those schools are faring well, at least in the eyes of their supporters. She notes that many are now able to access publicly funded tax credits and vouchers in various states, and often can operate with limited regulation.

“But this leaves kids vulnerable on all kinds of levels, which of course was what the hashtag was about,” Ingersoll said in an email. “It’s been portrayed as a campaign against Christianity from ‘the left,’ but it was really a group of young adults who grew up in Christian schools (and Christian home schooling) explaining how they believe they were personally harmed by it.”

“These harms were often related to sex, gender, shame, and abuse,” she wrote. “But stories also detailed impoverished education, especially when it came to science and history.”

The Rev. Russell Moore, a high-profile official with the Southern Baptist Convention, said the recent criticisms of Christian schools reflect some broader societal trends that have riled conservative religious leaders.

“There’s a certain mindset in America that sees any religious conviction as authoritarian,” Moore said.

Overall, Christian schooling “is in a very good place,” Moore said. “There are some phenomenal evangelical schools, preparing their children with remarkable academic rigor.”

John Gehring, Catholic program director at a Washington-based clergy network called Faith in Public Life, graduated from an all-male Catholic prep school near Baltimore. He has suggested in recent articles that such schools — while admirable in many ways — could do a better job of teaching their students about the church’s historical role in exploitation and oppression.

“I’m frustrated by the overheated commentary where Christian and public schools are almost viewed as enemy combatants in the culture wars,” Gehring said. “Each has their place, and like any institution they have strengths and weaknesses. The Catholic schools I attended through college shaped my understanding of justice and cultivated a spirituality that frames my life, even if those environments could sometimes be a little cloistered and privileged.”


  1. ”There’s a certain mindset in America that sees any religious conviction as authoritarian,” Moore said.

    No, religious convictions only become authoritarian when they’re imposed on the public at large, or when religiously-affiliated schools take public funding while seeking certain exemptions from the law, thereby allowing them to eat their cake while having it too.

  2. Fact versus fancy:

    – Fancy: Hashtag stirs debate over role of Christian schools in US

    Fact: Chris Stroop started a fight because he hates evangelical Christians.

    – Fancy: Opinions varied widely as to whether the boys had behaved badly

    Fact: The boys were minding their own business waiting for a bus and avoided sequentially incredibly rude foul-mouthed “Black Israelites” and a drum beating quasi-lunatic who violated District of Columbia’s law against stalking.

    – Fancy: The “incident” involving boys waiting for a bus further fueled debate over faith-based schools

    Fact: The same folks whose complete disregard for facts led to a brief ugly attack on law-abiding minors and their families tried to bootstrap the fake news into an attack on schools with religious affiliations.

  3. Facts from whole cloth told to you by those voices in your head, the fount of all your fake facts.

  4. Your descent into angry bitterness and futile name-calling is duly noted.

    Of course you could always provide contra facts and make an argument my critiques are unfounded.

  5. NO, REALLY?!?!?! “Christian schools venture … into indoctrination, with teachings that … misrepresent science and history and potentially breed intolerance toward people with different outlooks”?!?!?!

    FYII (For Your Insult to Intelligence):

    (1) U.S. President “Barack Obama attended Santo Fransiskus Asisi Catholic School”!

    (2) U.S. President “Rutherford B. Hayes … enrolled in 1836 at the Methodist Norwalk Seminary in Norwalk, Ohio”!

    (3) U.S. President “James K. Polk … enrolled in the Zion Church Academy”!

    (4) U.K. Prime Minister “Ramsay MacDonald … received an elementary education at the Free Church of Scotland school … and then at Drainie parish school”!

    (5) Australia Prime Minister “Tony Abbott … attended primary school at St Aloysius’ College at Milson’s Point, before completing his secondary school education at St Ignatius’ College, Riverview, both Jesuit schools”!

  6. As the saying goes, You know (nothing) and therefore you are.

  7. Deserving 100 upvotes (if only I could make Disqus do that).

  8. No Disqus here

    Just Diss Cuss

    Because Trump’s prez

    I’m coining it, patent pending, The Sore Loser Hillary Syndrome

  9. I object to public funds being used to finance religious or other private schools. One woman who homeschools her kids complained to me about having to pay school taxes for a service she doesn’t use. I pointed out that I don’t have any children and I have no problem paying school taxes because I know some of those kids attending public schools might be running this country when I am old and out of it! I want to make sure they are well educated! It is in all of our best interests to support free public school education for all! She never complained to me again!

  10. I guess not everyone could understand why the founders of our nation went to great lengths to keep us from entangling the government with religion.

  11. Yeah, “going to great lengths” like having Congress open each gig with a prayer.

    (Oops! Guess the Founders understood that “separation” doesn’t mean “quarantine”.)

  12. No angry bitterness or name calling. That’s just one of your little tricks to belittle folks, lie about them.

  13. You could always provide contra facts and make an argument my critiques are unfounded instead of exhibiting angry bitterness.

    On the positive side you’ve dropped the “stalking” nonsense.

  14. Odd, then, that the word “entangling” never appears in the Constitution or its amendments.

  15. As a matter of settled constitutional law private schools, even those with a religious affiliation, are entitled to certain basic support such as transportation, textbooks, safety equipment, and the like.

  16. The Founders would not understand “separation”, which appears neither in the Constitution nor any of its amendments.

    That word comes into the discussion via a letter of Thomas Jefferson, who was not even at the Constitutional Convention.

  17. A lot of the non-Catholic religious schools have more to do with Brown v. Board than with providing kids with a Christian education.

  18. I don’t think he hates them; he hates their sin, that’s all.

  19. Change that “a lot” to almost all” for a true picture.

  20. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, however:

    (1) “The concept of a ‘wall’ of separation is a useful figure of speech probably deriving from views of Thomas Jefferson … but the metaphor itself is not a wholly accurate description of the practical aspects of the relationship that in fact exists between church and state.”

    (2) “Despite [James] Madison’s admonition and the ‘sweep of the absolute prohibitions’ of the [Establishment and Free Exercise] Clauses, this Nation’s history has not been one of entirely sanitized separation between Church and State. It has never been thought either possible or desirable to enforce a regime of total separation.”

    (3) “The strict separationist view was wholly rejected by every justice on the Marshall and Taney courts.”

    (4) “The First Amendment … does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State.”

    (5) “Our prior holdings do not call for total separation between church and state; total separation is not possible in an absolute sense.”

  21. Didn’t know myself until just now: US Supreme Court considers church/state separation as an unrealistic & metaphorical proposition.

  22. It showed up in 1947 and disappeared circa 2002.

    It was a falsification of the First Amendment.

  23. As the saying goes, You know (nothing) and therefore you are.

    FYII (For Your Insult to Intelligence):

    Such “private schools … were founded between 1954, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregated public schools were unconstitutional, and 1976, when the court ruled similarly about private schools. … The laws that permitted their operation, including government subsidies and tax exemption, were invalidated by U.S. Supreme Court decisions. After Runyon v. McCrary (1976), all of these private schools … accept[ed] African-American students … changed their admission policies, ceased operations, or merged with other private schools.”

  24. Change that to mostly in Southern USA and only between 1954 and 1976.

    And so, as the saying goes, You know (nothing) and therefore you are.

  25. I’m especially interested in Russell Moore’s defense of “phenomenal” evangelical schools, coming right on the heels of the controversy about the pro-slavery roots of the flagship Southern Baptist institution, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    Does Moore think that those of us who lived through the integration period in the U.S. South have forgotten precisely why all these “phenomenal” evangelical schools were set up — so that white families could avoid sending their children to public schools? The effects of this mass abandonment of public schools for church-based ones have been dismal for public education and for racial reconciliation in many areas of the country.

    Though separate Catholic schools have existed for quite a while longer, the U.S. Catholic bishops knew perfectly well what they were allying themselves with when they created the religious right along with white evangelicals resisting the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. Defending “phenomenal” evangelical schools without adverting to their history in resistance to civil rights for people of color is akin to defending Southern Baptist Theological Seminary while pretending its origins do not lie in the defense of slavery.

  26. By all means let’s pretend the US was far more religiously diverse 200 years ago and that an entirely Christian prayer would be considered as inclusive today as it was back then.

    I need a good laugh.

    The founders recognized separation meant inclusion, not discrimination.

    At no point is it even remotely acceptable to have tax funded sectarian discrimination

  27. 1. Incorrect. The phrase predates Jefferson by a century. See Roger Williams. The relationship is context driven. Avoidance of favoritism or discrimination is paramount. Inclusion is the watchword for such interactions.

    2 True, however rule of thumb is ecumenical actions. Careful avoidance of state sanctioned sectarian discrimination. Erring on the side of inclusion.

    3. See previous point. Ecumenism is the given principle. No favoritism or exclusion of any given religion. Separation as respect for all beliefs, not just a single one or subset.

    4. Stupid premise. Separation of church and state was the underlying concept if the establishment clause.

    5. See points 2 & 3. You are making a strawman argument

    The separation of church and state protects free exercise of religion. It is the cornerstone of religious freedom. To attack it is to attack all religions freedom. The only people who make such arguments typically have disdain for free exercise of religion and promote sectarian discrimination

  28. Does that include the black-church based private and charter schools too? Hmm?

  29. Thanks for not bothering to actually read my comment.

  30. “By all means let’s pretend the US was far more religiously diverse 200
    years ago and that an entirely Christian prayer would be considered as
    inclusive today as it was back then.”

    Do you get your history from comic books?

  31. 1. The critical fact is that the phrase does NOT appear in the Constitution, nor is it a fair summary of the First Amendment.

    2. Thank you for a meaningless wish list.

    3. See previous point. Ecumenism is another word completely missing from the Constitution.

    4. Stupid premise. “Separation of church and state” is completely missing from the Constitution, the amendments, the deliberations on the amendments, and is inconsistent with the First Amendment as written.

    5. The Court was crystal clear. You are fabricating a position out of non-constitutional propaganda.

    The separation of church and state is an imaginary constitutional principle designed primarily to prevent private schools from competing on equal footing with public schools. It is the cornerstone of religious suppression.

  32. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was founded in 1877 in post-bellum Louisville, Kentucky.

    That seems to bring into question your allegation of “pro-slavery roots”.

    While it shares the name of the ante-bellum Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, this new entity was funded by John D. Rockefeller and a group of Kentucky business leaders who promised to underwrite the construction of a new campus.

    The U.S. Catholic bishops were at forefront of integration in the South, including the excommunication of three leaders of Catholic opposition to desegregation in the archdiocese of New Orleans.

  33. The change of policies included tuition rates and real estate choice that result in overwhelming majority white attendance, even in areas where the demographics are majority Black.

  34. Religious schools have been part of the spectrum of education providers since colonial times. Most of these schools deeply reflect the theology of their founding religion and the times in which they operate. Mainly Catholic, Lutheran, and others allowed immigrants to assimilate in a more humane way and keep some of the values of their religion and old country. At times, the church school supported more progressive ideas then the public schools were allowed to support.

    These schools produced much more disciplined, educated and hard working students who were able to carry those values into the workforce and the adult world.

  35. I commented on their own report, which was virtue signaling rather than accurate, when RNS covered it.

    There are two separate entities in two separate locations founded eighteen years apart:

    – the antebellum Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with some slave owner founders;

    – the existing post-bellum Southern Baptist Theological Seminary founded in Louisville with the aid of John D. Rockefeller.

    There are no legal connections at all between the two, nor any faculty that were shared by them, nor common founders.

  36. How are Christian schools teaching Christianity, any different than US schools teaching, “civics”? No difference, just different God – mammon.

  37. “teachings that can misrepresent science and history and potentially breed intolerance toward people with different outlooks.” Unless Christ – who made science and history – is correct and these disciplines have just not caught up to His wisdom

  38. “wife of Vice President Mike Pence, would be teaching at a Christian school in northern Virginia that lists “homosexual or lesbian sexual activity” as among the disqualifying criteria for prospective employees.”
    Do you want a devoted Christian running your homosexual agencies…..teaching children about what homosexuality is schools? Let’s look at a little reality here,
    There is nothing wrong with disqualifying – unless it has something that may be against homosexuals, eh?

  39. Sorry, I’m on a roll here:
    “discouraged the empowerment of women.” A woman bore God – if that is not empowering, what is?

  40. Be careful with government. The RC schools (publicly funded) in Yukon, I believe Alberta and elsewhere are being told that they cannot teach homosexuality to be a sin. Government interference if you let them in

  41. and the example you set for speaking to those you disagree with was…..”Facts from whole cloth told to you by those voices in your head, the fount of all your fake facts.” Maybe you should read your comments before you post?

  42. No Sandi in Hell, I think that you need to remember your place as a woman and stop trying to preside over and teach men.

  43. an another example of your congeniality! And, to boot, another example of your lack of knowledge – two in one!

  44. Spoken by Ms Congeniality herself!

    And by our resident Bible expert. Oh, wait! She doesn’t know seagull shit about the Bible, aside from English translations. She doesn’t know Biblical Hebrew. She doesn’t know the Jewish dialect of Kione Greek. She doesn’t know the history of the Bible’s canonization. She a bit ignorant of the whole thing, aside from using a concordance to look up the cherry-picked pericopes she throws around as knowledge.

  45. Ahhhhh…..let the love flow……lol…so congenial, so congenial lol (edit) and he thinks he reads minds too!

  46. “Separation”s the word that Jefferson used in 1802 t explain what the First Amendment means, The SCOTUS reaffirmed that in 1878 and 1947. Mark/Bob is just displaying his ignorance.

  47. Mark/Bob really hates Jefferson, Madison and Franklin.

  48. The original meaning of separation was diluted by Republican justices in 2002.

  49. Yes, the SCOTUS confirmed that was in a letter Jefferson wrote thirteen years after the First Amendment was adopted, fifteen years after a Constitutional Convention that he did not attend.

    The letter is not a binding legal document, a citable SCOTUS decision, and the legal and scholarly opinion since 2002 has been that even citing it as a metaphor was a mistake.

    Your posts, which attempt to substitute for the actual amendment, makes it clear why it was a mistake.

  50. But taxpayers must not be compelled by government to support them


    (1) CRUDDIE on U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668, 673:1: “Incorrect. The phrase predates Jefferson by a century. See Roger Williams. The relationship is context driven. Avoidance of favoritism or discrimination is paramount. Inclusion is the watchword for such interactions.”

    (2) CRUDDIE on U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Committee for Public Education & Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, 413 U.S. 756, 760: “True, however rule of thumb is ecumenical actions. Careful avoidance of state sanctioned sectarian discrimination. Erring on the side of inclusion.”

    (4) CRUDDIE on U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 312: “Stupid premise. Separation of church and state was the underlying concept of the establishment clause.”

    (5) CRUDDIE on U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602: “You are making a strawman argument”.

  52. That was incoherent. Meth or alcohol driven?

    Citation to Jefferson doesn’t change the fact that Roger Williams said it first and it was a major concept of Anabaptist belief prior to the Revolution.

    Lynch v Donnelly defended religious displays if inclusive of many faiths

    Lemon v Kurzman gave us the benchmark for determining violations of the establishment clause. Emphasis on the separation of church and state .

  53. Not really. Their definition of it is not what you think it is.

  54. The original meaning of separation matters not at all because it is not part of the constitution.

  55. That is happening all across the English-speaking Commonwealth, including the UK, Australia, and Canada.

    The reason is they all lack an equivalent of the First Amendment in their constitutions.

  56. Good news is that upon the US Supreme Court ruling in the case of “Bob Jones Univ. v. United States, 461 U.S. 574 (1983) … all private schools in the South began publishing regular statements of non-discrimination in admission, and most began admitting at least a small number of black students and other students of color.”

    Source: Southern Education Foundation, “A History of Private Schools & Race in the American South”, 2012.

  57. Neither substituted Jefferson’s letter for the text of First Amendment, which is what you and your anti-Catholic friends have been doing since right after WWII.

    Jefferson favored the Virginia approach. He was at neither the Convention nor involved in the drafting of the First Amendment. It was not adopted.

    Madison, who did the draft work while corresponding with the states, favored the Massachusetts approach. It was rejected by the states.

    The final text was neither and stands on its own two feet.

  58. I never met any of them personally, not being quite as superannuated as you are.

    Their relevance when we have the Constitution as to what they thought they’d like to see in it is zero.

    And you know that.

  59. Pouting you can take on the U.S. Supreme Court proves, as the saying goes, ‘Yo CRUDDIE – you know (nothing) and therefore you are!

  60. Almost every other country in the world supports their religious schools to various degrees and many of these same nations have excellent track records regarding freedom of religion. Further, in some communities without the religious schools, the cost to the taxpayer would sky rocket if the taxpayer had to support conventional public schools with all the extra costs.

    We seem to have no problem supporting religious colleges, never understood why not religious schools provided the schools meet the same standards as public schools.

  61. Just because some other countries did not have our history of church-state separation does not mean that we should emulate them. Courts recognized the vast differences between K-12 schools and colleges where indoctrination is less of a problem. Tax support for K-12 private schools would fragment our student population along religious, ideological, class, ethnic and other lines. Do you want to support religious indoctrination that you do not agree with? Jefferson and Madison sure didn’t.

  62. As I said, Mark/Bob has no respect for our leading Founders.

  63. Of course Tom missed the convention. He was busy representing the US in France/ But he was the guy who pushed Madison on the need for Bill of Rights. Read history/

  64. In other words, you are saying “to hell with the Founders.”

  65. No one is arguing about the need for a Bill of Rights.

    It was the anti-Federalists, btw, that established the need for a Bill of Rights.

    Jefferson had nothing at all to do with it, did not write it, the comparable Virginia provision in its state constitution was not adopted by the Congress nor incorporated into the Bill of Rights.

    So, let’s move past these irrelevant but illustrious men of American history.

  66. The utter BS is your citing irrelevant nonsense in support of the Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation and State propaganda.

    It’s been left in the judicial dust and if you think it was your life’s work, you can rest assured you accomplished nothing.

  67. They did many fine things, and some things not so fine.

    None of the ones you mentioned are relevant to the meaning of the First Amendment.

  68. No, I am saying the word is not in the Constitution.

  69. Thats not good news. Admitting a few minority students whose families can afford to admit them still preserves segregation. Public schools systems that used such loopholes were hammered.

  70. Many countries have had separation of church and state. Everything you bring up is just an opinion of some judge who most likely was scared of Catholicism so they cooked up an idea. France and Canada both are very secular , but support religious schools. In away the parents that send their children to religious schools support the public schools by not adding to the burden of the taxpayer. People can think more broadly. Some of the greatest thinkers and most accomplished people come from the religious schools that taught self discipline and hard work with ethics. Today’s public schools cannot or will not do that.

  71. In the eyes of the U.S. Supreme Court that no longer “preserves segregation” but paves the way of liberal democracy. Those who say otherwise are suffering the Sore Loser Hillary Syndrome ever since Trump kicked her out of the White House Plantation. And that’s why they’re scapegoating “the wife of Vice President Mike Pence”.

  72. I don’t have to. I am not the one misrepresenting what SCOTUS was saying.

  73. Which he cribbed from Roger Williams nearly a century before. Which was the backbone of the charters of RI and PA. It was always the underlying concept behind the establishment clause.

  74. Of course it does. One cannot protect free exercise of religion without it.

    Claiming it does not exist or was not the intent of the drafters of the establishment clause is merely a dishonest ploy to attack all religious freedom.

  75. Because public schools aren’t in the business of reinforcing your faith. Nobody has to care what you consider sin.

  76. And the desire of parents to send kids to an all white religious school. As planned by the remnants of segregationists.

    Real estate choices bolstered by redlining and other discriminatory practices.

  77. The entire purpose of tax support for private schools is to attack public schools and their mandate to teach an entire community. It is meant as a form of segregation, to deny education to wide swaths of the public and create an ignorant compliant population.

    Your god doesn’t ever need my money. It is repugnant to motions of freedom and a civil society to demand such things.

    Public education has been the driving force towards the creation of a professional educated middle class. Something that

  78. Like Trump, Mark/Bob seems to know little about history.

  79. AU dropped the “Protestants and Other” part of the name many decades ago and is now supported by many Catholics. When I was on their staff many years ago I hired a Catholic as my secretary.

  80. Jefferson pushed the B of R idea from his post as US ambassador to France. He and Madison were anti-Federalists. Poor Mark/Bob seems to know as little about history as his idol Trump.

  81. i attended both a religious and public school. I never felt any thing of privilege at my church school. Walked to school and the vast majority of my classmates were from working class, lower middle class and middle middle class. Your Dad was big stuff if he was a first line supervisor or foreman. When I went to public school, I was reminded that I belonged with the poor and working class only, because one boundary of the district was a block from the school so the upper middle income kids on the other side would not have to attend school with black, brown and poor white kids. In the religious school there was discipline but in the public school it was chaos. I never heard of anyone being expelled from my church school, but at my public school it happened all the time.

    In my home town if the church schools had closed the public school system would have been bankrupt in one semester.

  82. Your personal experiences are not relevant to anything I said.

    The entire move for tax subsidized private schooling was meant to fund racially and economically segregated schools and deny money to public schooling. Attacking minorities, the poor and working class.

    It is inherently parasitic and damaging to the nation as a whole. Your church school never needed my money and it would be wrong to ask for it. Education is a goal for an entire population. The government has the role to provide that regardless of one’s faith. Private schools have no such role.

    “In my home town if the church schools had closed the public school system would have been bankrupt in one semester.”

    Because people weren’t paying taxes to the town? That doesn’t make much sense.

  83. Some experiences I listed were that of many who attended such religious and public schools. Public schools teach what the local elite want taught not necessarily the truth..

    People paid their property and income taxes. It is just that there were so many students in church schools that if the schools closed, the public schools system did not have the resources to accommodate the extra students.

    I will agree that many private schools popped up in the South due as a reaction to integration. But many of the religious schools of the North were established long before the courts knock down segregation in schools. The religious schools offered a way out a lower income class life that the public schools did not offer.

    I will grant you there are the elite private schools and then there are the church schools that open their doors to all. My experience is with the later.

    My tax dollars pay for lot of things I do not support, but that is what happens in a democracy. Get over it.

  84. Madison was a Federalist. In fact he was one of the three authors of the Federalist Papers

    along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay.

    Jefferson was not at the Constitutional Convention, nor were Jefferson’s ideas included in the First Amendment’s final draft.

  85. “Public schools teach what the local elite want taught not necessarily the truth..”

    I wonder what you consider “not necessarily the truth”. In most cases when people make such remarks about public schools what they mean is that the schools do not cater to their personal prejudices or support their specific sectarian beliefs.

    Also Local elite? School boards are elected positions for the most part. In many cases not run by people who have vigorous careers which would preclude the time to participate in such meeting.

    ” It is just that there were so many students in church schools that if the schools closed, the public schools system did not have the resources to accommodate the extra students.”

    So you are saying the public schools were underfunded for the community of the given district leading to bloat of private school attendance the community. You are demonstrating why tax subsidized private schooling is inherently parasitic.

    My issue isn’t with private schooling. Private funded schools can do whatever they want. it doesn’t affect me in any way.

    Its the entire notion that any of them deserve taxpayer funds. They do not. It is destructive to our system if we do. Privatization is not a solution to how to better educate a community. It is merely a way to exacerbate existing problems. Which for some people is a good thing.

  86. No you’re not.

    Your primary gig is anti-Catholicism, but in order to get that done, you’ll jump on ANY bandwagon that cuts the ground out from under any religion.

  87. The word itself may not be there, but the concept is, as Jefferson noted in 1802 and the SCOTUS agree many times.

  88. At least I know James Madison was not an anti-Federalist, that Thomas Jefferson was not at the Constitutional Convention, and that his 1802 letter is irrelevant to understanding the First Amendment.

  89. Yes, he was one of the FP authors, but he lined up with Jefferson and not with Adams. Jefferson was the guy who (from France) pushed for a Bill of Rights.

  90. France provides tax support to church school only in one smallish German-based area. In Canada, Quebec (largely Catholic) stopped aiding church schools years ago, and Newfoundland ended tax support for church schools by law and a referendum in the 1990s. Public opinion in Ontario favors tax support for public schools only but the provincial legislature ref uses to act.

    In the US 3/4 of state constitutions prohibit tax aid to church schools, and in 30 state referenda from 1966 to 2018 from coast to coast voters have defeated every plan to divert public funds to private schools by a average of 2 to 1.

  91. Simply put, Mark/Bob is saying “to hell with the guy who wrote the Declaration of Independence and who led the fight in Virginia for religious freedom.” Mark/Bob and Trump would make good soulmates.

  92. The word may not be there but the concept certainly is. Read history.

  93. When it comes to interpreting the First Amendment “to hell with the guy who wrote the Declaration of Independence and who led the fight in Virginia for religious freedom.” who was NOT at the Constitutional Convention, who did NOT write the First Amendment, and whose opinion about what it SHOULD have said eleven years after it was adopted is a personal opinion.

    Edd and Joseph Goebbels are real soulmates:

    “…. when one lies,
    one should lie big, and stick to it.” – Goebbels

  94. What I am saying is the tax payer is saving a lot of money because students are attending church schools. The bill to the public schools would increase significantly without the church schools. Obviously, you have never observed the “sausage making”: that passes for public policy making by many local governments.
    The connections, the behind the scenes deals and petty corruptions

  95. Show me where the word “separation” appears in the debates, proposals and revisions surrounding the drafting of the 1st Amendment.

    Oops, I forgot…potatoes don’t read. OK, here’s the answer: It’s not there. But I can tell you what IS there. “National religion” (Madison’s first choice). “Infringing rights of conscience.” “Establishing one sect/denomination in preference to others.” “Enforced legal observation.”

    Also plenty of concern that any of the phrasing used “might be taken with such latitude as to be extremely hurtful to the cause of religion” or amount to “patronizing those who professed no religion at all.”

    Very prescient and sadly aware of human nature, the founders and framers were.

  96. I have observed the “sausage making” when it comes to local education. Taken part in them as well.

    Taxpayers however get screwed when money gets diverted from public schools to private ones. I have seen plans to do just that. Usually followed by for profit groups trying to make a quick buck by warehousing people in poor communities.

    The machinations behind DeVos and co and their attacks on public schooling in favor of private ones is corruption on a grand scale.

    Again no issue with private schools as long as they are in fact private schools. My sole objection is they just don’t have any right to public funds. They cease to be private schools when that happens and they become a harm to the community.

  97. Don’t have to. It is not the actual point. There is no good faith denial that separation of church and state was the intention of the establishment clause. Especially given its application in several state charters nearly a century before the Revolution.

    It is an essential part of religious freedom. Free exercise of religion is impossible without it. Even the founders knew it was obvious that when church and state entangle, the result is ALWAYS sectarian discrimination. Attacks on free exercise of religion.

    A national religion is a government endorsed faith. Where church and state are entangled and one in the same. Trying to minimize the meaning of the establishment clause is meant to nullify it. To pretend it has no real function. A call for sectarian discrimination at its most obvious.

    Why do you hate religious freedom so much?

  98. Oops, you aren’t referencing the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, are you? Can’t do that — on its face it is wholly based in that yucky “natural law.”

  99. Edd keeps trying to turn the clock back to 1947, or 1802, whichever folks will buy.

    But what he doesn’t realize is that Jefferson was a natural law kind of guy, which undercuts his position on abortion.

    I get it. If you’ve been pretty much full-time spreading manure since 1966, and you’re ending your 9th decade and see it all begin to get shoveled up and carted away, you would be tempted to try to spread some more.

    Personally I could think of better uses of my time.

  100. “Don’t have to. It is not the actual point.” Sure you do, and it is exactly the point — you who customarily make up nonsense arguments about the impossibility of trying to divine the original intent behind the constitution (or anything else) are now pretending the reverse to bolster your shaky position, except that you’re trying to do it with zero evidentiary support from the debates.

    Remember the arguments about how “God” is not in the constitution? Neither is “separation.” Neither is “entanglement.”

    State charters said all kinds of things. Unless they were expressly incorporated into the constitution we need not worry about them.

    Why do YOU hate religious freedom so much?

  101. I doubt the writer would be so concerned about the administration of a Muslim or Jewish school. Christian everything is up for grabs in this age. Christian and fat people are despised, though half the country is one or both, we are so good at hating on our fellow citizens. Grow up America, I am sick of your adolescence.

  102. You are arguing against the application of the separation of church and state because you have a disdain for religious freedom. Instead you want special privilege and favor for your given sect/belief from government. You are attacking religious freedom in the plainest sense of the words. Your petty insults and sneering doesn’t change your obvious intentions and the purpose of the argument.

    How do you have religious freedom without the separation of church and state? You don’t. You have sectarian discrimination. You hate religious freedom and it is obvious.

  103. I think it’s funny to see progs running around playing whack-a-mole. Take Jefferson as gospel and you get natural law and original intent along with him. Take Madison as gospel and you get a “national religion” establishment clause and strictly enumerated powers. Take Washington or Adams as gospel and you get religion as necessary to public virtue and liberty. What’s a prog to do???

  104. I recommend reading the text of the First Amendment.

    Edd was gungho on the 1802 letter to the Baptists.

    Then some wise guy on the Supreme Court actually spent five minutes thinking about it, and it’s gone.

    He was also foursquare for the Lemon Test.

    Then the Court realized you could reach any conclusion with the Lemon Test – all it tested was your cleverness.

    Bitter pills I am sure.

  105. Kindly refrain from telling me what I want or mean; I will do that myself, thank you. I am not even arguing “against” separation of church and state as such. I am arguing that it does not appear in either the constitution nor the debates surrounding the 1st Amendment. It is a phrase cherry-picked from some of Jefferson’s writings in the mid-20th century to get to someone’s desired result du jour. Without it we have religious freedom exactly as we did for the century and a half before it.

  106. Your the guy who had Jefferson at the Constitutional Convention, Madison an anti-Federalist, and a personal letter of 1802 as the quintessential interpretation of the First Amendment.

  107. Jefferson cribbed nothing from Roger Williams. Williams wrote about a separation of the garden of God’s church from the wilderness of the WORLD, and he was speaking of divine judgment on the church that comes from worldly pollution. The image itself was borrowed from Isaiah and the Song of Solomon.

  108. I am simply stating the obvious and well worn purpose for your arguments. Owning up to such purposes has always been an issue with you. Hence the constant hair splitting and goal post moving in response.

  109. You are simply stating what you would like for my position to be, since that is the position you evidently wish to argue against. It’s rare to see a prog who can debate any other way.

  110. All of the founders were natural law kind of guys. That’s probably why progs hate the constitution.

  111. You bet, plus the fact that they all thought the correct way to fix any problems was by amendment, not by reading the South African Constitution, closing your eyes, and massaging a large crystal ball, and then scribbling down whatever pops into your mind.

  112. To what other purpose is there in attacking separation of church and state is not attacking religious freedom? There is none.

  113. After all the term wall of separation had only been bandied about for about a century before. He was talking about the separation of church and state. God’s world of faith and the civil society.

    A core belief of anabaptist sects such as the Quakers. As enshrined by the RI charter and PA charter.

    After all he was banished from the Puritan colony where church and state were one. Your denials here are cheap and ridiculous.

  114. Noting that Jefferson’s little metaphor is perhaps not the most apt way of describing the 1st Amendment as it was written and the purposes behind it.

  115. Edd is more than a little out-of-date.

    I was reading Vincent Phillip Munoz’s “THE ORIGINAL MEANING OF THE ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE AND THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF ITS INCORPORATION” from the August, 2006, Journal of Constitutional Law.

    He does a fine a job of parsing Black and Rutledge trading irrelevant material to establish their erroneous conclusions.

    What he fails to illustrate is why Black did a hatchet job.

    Hugo LaFayette Black was born on February 27, 1886, in Ashland, Alabama.

    Starting in 1907 he specialized in labor law and personal injury cases in Birmingham, Alabama.

    He also served there as a police court judge – his only judicial experience prior to the Supreme Court.

    He served in the Senate from 1926 until 1937, where he was known for opposing anti-lynching laws.

    Black’s nomination to the court was held due to his presumed bigotry and his Klu Klux Klan membership. But Walter Francis White, the black executive secretary of the NAACP, was a personal friend and soothed his critics.

    What they failed to uncover was his rabid anti-Catholicism. He had given numerous anti-Catholic speeches in his 1926 election campaign to Ku Klux Klan meetings across Alabama.

    This helps explain why he grabbed an irrelevant bit of fluff and stuff into the First Amendment jurisprudence.

    Fortunately it blew away.

  116. Typical Shawnie evasion. I can understand why people seeking special favor for their faith have such trouble with the phrase and concept.

  117. You’ve never read a word of Roger Williams — only what you picked up third-hand from some atheist echo chamber.

    “First the faithful labours of many witnesses of Jesus Christ, extant to the world, abundantly proving, that the church of the Jews under the Old Testament in the type, and the church of the New Testament in the antitype, were both separate from the world; and that when they have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of Separation between the Garden of the Church and the Wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall it self, removed the Candlestick, &c. and made his Garden a Wilderness, as at this day. And that therefore if he will ever please to restore his Garden and Paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto himself from the world, and that all that shall be saved out of the world are to be transplanted out of the Wilderness of world, and added unto his Church or Garden.” — Roger Williams, Mr. Cotton’s Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered, 1644.

    Beats me how he thought the Jews of the Old Testament were “separate from the world” in a civil sense, for they were theocracy personified. Something was wrong with either his logic or your understanding of it. Given your comment history, I will always go with the latter.

  118. Have no “trouble” with it whatsoever. It simply isn’t the constitutional principle it’s claimed to be.

    If a state wants to put it in its constitution, that’s the state’s business.

  119. I’ve never seen you assert a fact honestly. I am surprised you didn’t learn about Williams in grade school like I did. He also came up in college American History.

    You quote him at length and fail to understand a word of it. Much like your take on a lot of texts. He was decrying the entanglement of religion with earthly concerns such as civil society. Demanding the wall between then rebuilt. His followers understood it as do several Christian sects which abide by such concepts.

    There really is no room for your dishonest hair splitting here.

  120. So you really don’t like all that religious freedom stuff. 🙂

  121. Lol. Unless it is a video involving kittens or sloths, I don’t usually open YouTube links.

  122. I have never seen any indication whatsoever that you would recognize a fact if it backed up and ran over your foot.

  123. Hugo Black, who authored Edd’s favorite opinion – Everson – was a rabid anti-Catholic.

  124. The state Blaine amendments are folding one-by-one in the face of Federal court decisions and referendums in the states.

  125. Public schools are not provided for in the Constitution of the United States.

  126. “My issue isn’t with private schooling.”


    Your issue is with religion and people who don’t agree with you, and the notion they might obtain funding for schools gives you the shitz.

  127. You didn’t study law at one of those correspondence schools from the inside of a match pack, did you?

  128. It does not take Chief Just Marshall to conclude that “several state charters nearly a century before the Revolution” are irrelevant when the text of NONE of them were satisfactory and Madison had to sweat out a whole new text to gain approval of the anti-Federalists.

    Inserting “separation of church and state” into the discussion because it happens to spin your propeller is silly.

  129. She is arguing against the insertion of “separation of church and state” because it is in neither the Constitution nor the First Amendment.

  130. They were hammered under a principle that both answer to.

  131. Tater, the only way I would believe you ever darkened the door of a college is if you were there to throw a ball and not to think.

    And since ball-throwers are neither obssess about abortion or slut-shaming, nor watch A Handmaid’s Tale, nor call people babies, that’s the end of the inquiry as far as I’m concerned.

  132. “Liking religious freedom stuff?” LOL! Is that what you think 1st Amendment jurisprudence is all about? Sounds about right.

    No kind of jurisprudence whatsoever is about what anyone “likes.” That is for the legislative branch.

  133. It is useless to argue with someone whose knowledge of history is so weak.

  134. Still trying to pretend you can just ignore SCOTUS precedence. What else is new?

  135. Oh well, insults rather than cogent and honest arguments. Typical Shawnie

  136. The SCOTUS ignores “”precedence” [sic] all the time. It has been ignoring Lemon for quite some time now.

    Ignoring precedent is why you have same-sex marriage.

  137. I never put Tom at the convention, Madison became anti-Federalist. The SCOTUS in 1878 and 1947 put Tom as the proper authority.

  138. As Shawnie and I are finding out trying to point out to you the many errors of your ways.

    Then again, you follow in the footsteps Hugo Black, whose insertion of an irrelevant letter into a court opinion set a new low in jurisprudence.

  139. I believe I already provided you a good article to arrange your thinking consistent with the actual law.

  140. As to the 1947 opinion:

    “Given the central importance of the Virginia Statute to his interpretation, Justice Black, surprisingly, failed to offer any direct exegesis of the text of Jefferson’s bill. Instead, he treated Jefferson’s and Madison’s thoughts as self-explanatory, presenting only an extended quotation from Jefferson’s bill and a one-sentence summary of Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance.’ From these citations, Black derived his sweeping interpretation of the Establishment Clause: ….”

    “To grasp the meaning of the First Amendment, he (Rehnquist) assumed that one must look to the intentions of those who drafted it within the context of its actual adoption. Only the debate over the text of the amendment in the First Congress is relevant, then, not the establishment of religious freedom in Virginia. In this way, Justice Rehnquist made Madison’s statements as a Virginia state legislator including the Memorial and Remonstrance’ inapposite to determine the Establishment Clause’s original meaning. He concluded, accordingly, that Everson was based upon a mistaken understanding of constitutional history.'” – Vincent Phillip Munoz, “THE ORIGINAL MEANING OF THE ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE AND THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF ITS INCORPORATION”, JOURNAL OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, August, 2006

    You should read it. It makes mincemeat of Black’s position, and thus yours. Among other things Black’s citations don’t even support this statements.

  141. You said private schools could discriminate. The article clearly said that was not not the case.

  142. TRANSCRIPT: “Spuddie, roll over. … Good boy!”

    (BWA-HA-HAppy Chinese New Year, Cruddie!)

  143. There have been 30 state referenda from coast to coast from 1966 to 2018. All efforts to divert public funds to private schools were defeated by an average of 2 to 1, including 3 times in DeVos’s Michigan and once in Trump’s New York. Some of the state provisions, like Virginia’s, were passed before Blaine was born, and some, like Alaska and Hawaii, were passed after WW II. Mark/Bob just likes to make up things, like his idol Trump.

  144. The history of the Blaine amendments is a history of anti-Catholicism in the US, the impact of the Know Nothings in the mid-19th century, and the anti-Catholic Protestants United for the Separation of Church and State, of which you were an officer.

  145. Mark/Bob loves to trash the guy who wrote the Declaration of Independence and VA’s religious liberty constitutional provision. But he really loves Trump.

  146. I love to trash your silly use of Jefferson to support a nonsensical interpretation of the First Amendment.

  147. Rehngquist’s proclivities, likes, and dislikes are not at issue.

    Black’s completely unsupported use of the Virginia Statute to explain an amendment demanded by the Constitutional Convention which rejected cloning the Virginia Statute is.

    That entire line of argument has been riddled full of holes at the water line and no competent constitutional attorney supports it since that took place over sixteen years ago.

  148. Mark/Bob brushes aside the facts I cited above. History is more complicated than he imagines.

  149. It is certainly more complicated then Black imagined.

    Explain why we would NOT look at the correspondence between Madison, who was drafting the First Amendment, and the anti-Federalists, whose approval was needed to ratify, and instead look at something else.

    Black couldn’t explain it.

    However, it is clear now.

    Black’s entire judicial experience was a police court justice.

    He did not even know that the original correspondence existed, so he backed into what he was familiar with from his days giving anti-Catholic speeches to the KKK.

  150. See if you can work into a short tune and tapdance it.

  151. Black simply screwed up.

    He did Backup Analysis: he began with his conclusion and worked backwards.

    You do it all the time.

  152. Black was a good friend of religious liberty; Rehnquist was not.

  153. All 8 of the rest of the justices agreed with Black.

  154. That is certainly a sad commentary.

    They bought a bogus argument that an 1802 letter by a guy whose thoughts were rejected by both the Constitutional Convention (which he did not attend) and the drafters of the First Amendment was dispositive of the meaning of the First Amendment.

    It goes to show why political hacks shouldn’t be Supreme Court justices.

    But now all the evidence is in and on the record and Everson is far behind in our taillights.

  155. Black was a fair police court judge and an enemy of Catholicism.

    That doesn’t like a “good friend of religious liberty” if you’re Catholic.

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