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Updated: Jun 11, 2023

The 1st clause in the Bill of Rights says that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Since its adoption in 1791, courts have debated the exact meaning of the clause but have generally accepted the notion that the “Separation of Church and State” is a good thing.

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison strongly believed that state support for a particular religion or for any religion was improper and argued that compelling citizens to financially support through taxation a faith they did not follow, violated their natural right to religious liberty.

Things are about to change.

A small private Oklahoma school, which is owned and operated by the Roman Catholic Church, has applied for charter status, and if approved, would make it the nation’s first overtly religious public school funded by taxpayer money. The school’s administration is welcoming the venomous legal battle that is about to ensue regardless of how the Oklahoma State Board of Education rules.

The 6-3 conservative leaning Supreme Court, most of whom are Catholic, will ultimately decide the question but given their decisions in previous cases involving “freedom of religion”, they will likely rule in the church’s favor.

I wonder then when the Rastafarians come calling with one of their core religious tenants being that the students need to get high each morning before class….will the court grant them charter status as well?

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