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Ban Blaine: End legal religious discrimination

EDITORIAL
July 12. 2018 11:48PM




Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court put a huge crack in the Blaine Amendment. It is time to shatter it completely.

When first proposed by Maine Rep. James G. Blaine in 1875, public schools were controlled by Protestants. Blaine and his allies wanted to prevent public funds from going to private Catholic schools. It wasn’t about separating church and state. It was about defunding the competition.

New Hampshire and Massachusetts were among the states that adopted Blaine Amendments. Today, Ray Flynn and Tom Olson write about how Bay State bureaucrats are using this relic of anti-Catholic bigotry to deny federal funds for special needs students at Catholic schools.

In the Granite State, teachers unions and the Democrats they help elect are using the Blaine Amendment to protect themselves from school choice.

In its 2017 Trinity decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Missouri could not exclude a religious school from a grant program open to other private schools. This was a narrow decision, but the crack it created should grow.

Government should not be allowed to exclude people or groups from programs open to others simply because of their religion. That violates the First Amendment.

It is past time to strip the Blaine Amendment from the New Hampshire Constitution.


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