Supreme Court Seems Wary of Ban on State Aid to Religious Schools

Supreme Court Seems Wary of Ban on State Aid to Religious Schools

The chief justice asked, for instance, whether the state would pay for tuition at a religious school whose doctrine calls for public service and that “does look just like a public school, but it’s owned by religion.” Mr. Taub said yes.

What about a religious school that “is infused in every subject with their view of the faith?” the chief justice asked. Mr. Taub said such a school would not qualify.

Chief Justice Roberts said that was an important concession. “So you’re discriminating among religions based on their belief, right?” he asked, adding that the government may not “draw distinctions between religions based on their doctrine.”

Michael Bindas, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, a libertarian group that represents the families, said that “religious discrimination is religious discrimination.”

“Religious schools, after all, teach religion, just as a soccer team plays soccer or a book club reads books,” he said. “Yes, it is part of what they do. It is also part of who they are.”

One of the schools at issue in the case, Temple Academy in Waterville, Maine, says it expects its teachers “to integrate biblical principles with their teaching in every subject” and teaches students “to spread the word of Christianity.” The other, Bangor Christian School, says it seeks to develop “within each student a Christian worldview and Christian philosophy of life.”

The two schools “candidly admit that they discriminate against homosexuals, individuals who are transgender and non-Christians,” Maine’s Supreme Court brief said.

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