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How a Supreme Court case about tire chips relates to 19th-century religious discrimination

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  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    April 21, 2017 11:22 a.m.

    "...they complicate efforts to create school voucher programs because some Blaine Amendments prevent even indirect government funding of religious schools. A ruling against Blaine Amendments would make it easier to promote school choice across the country..."

    --- I have a big problem with tax money going to pay for educations at private schools (both religious and secular). I pay my taxes to ensure that children have a chance to have a public education. People who send their kids to private schools should pay for it themselves. I'll continue to support public education, since that serves all children, not just those from wealthy families.

    Back Talk says:

    "...shouldnt that citizen be able to spend that money at any accredited school?"

    --- No. If they want to use public money they should send their kids to public school.

    @TGT;

    Let churches pay taxes then.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    April 20, 2017 10:08 a.m.

    @karen These are who the grant is open to. This list is from the actual grant application. As you can see it is not limited to non-profits only.

    Type of Applicant (Check one)
    Park or Park District
    Non-Profit Entity (attach legal status documentation)
    Private School
    Public Entity
    Institution Government Organization Other (Explain)

    @red, so are paved streets. So is naturally occurring radon gas, and radon gas emanating from many building materials. What is your point?

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    April 20, 2017 10:02 a.m.

    @Tumbleweed – “Americans' belief in being accountable in the next life for our actions in this life historically prevented multiple atrocities such as mass murders and suicides.”

    This is arguably true depending on the motivating religious belief, though it likely cuts both ways.

    Belief in the next life certainly played a role in European Christians torturing and burning at the stake their neighbors for over 500 years, just like it plays a role among some of our most fervent religious believers on Earth today when they commit atrocities they’re sure will gain them “paradise” in the next life.


    As for the “wishes of our Founding Fathers” I suggest you read the source material and not rely on second hand interpretations (especially from the “religiously motivated”). Many of our Founders held organized religion in contempt and wanted the “wall of separation” between church and state to be quite high.

  • Husker1 Northern Utah County, UT
    April 20, 2017 7:54 a.m.

    @Hutterite "That's OK. Just make sure it's all religions. That way no religion can claim victim status; it's not a slight on one as it is a separation from the concept."

    So, it's OK to discriminate against LGBT as long as you discriminate against all of them equally?? Bakeries across America are rejoicing.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 20, 2017 7:10 a.m.

    I'm not sure what a playground surface has to do with practicing one's religion and the program as I understand it was open only to non-profits, so taxpaying status wasn't an issue. Nevertheless, I'm concerned that the religious right will use a favorable decision to further blur the line between church and state with respect to school vouchers. With this in mind, I'd offer this observation:

    School voucher supporters: So what if some citizens want to use their share of public money to send their kids to religious schools? The money is promoting the education portion, not the religious portion. I.e., it can be separated.

    Anti-abortionists: Federal funding shouldn't go to any abortion provider even if they're already prohibited by law from using it for abortions because it indirectly supports the provision of abortion. I.e., it can't be separated.

  • Tumbleweed Centerville, UT
    April 19, 2017 11:06 p.m.

    The Establishment Clause prevents governments from "establishing" a religion like many countries in Europe have. Eg. In Greece, it's the Greek Orthodox Church, Church of England, etc. The Constitution does not say "wall of separation." At the same time, the Free Exercise Clause protects the practice of religion among citizens. Historically, Congress has begun sessions with prayers, schools began with prayers (used the Bible as text) and people swore on the Bible in court. Americans' belief in being accountable in the next life for our actions in this life historically prevented multiple atrocities such as mass murders and suicides. Now they are common place and the loss of the belief in eternal accountability plays a role in these horrendous acts no doubt. It's sick that the First Amendment is used as justification for adult porn, but prayer has been banned in our schools. Evil has wrapped its tentacles around the First Amendment and is tearing it to pieces, obviously contrary to the writings and wishes of our Founding Fathers.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    April 19, 2017 9:27 p.m.

    The phrase 'separation of church and state' are not in the U.S. Constitution.

  • Palmetto Bug Columbia, SC
    April 19, 2017 8:31 p.m.

    Interesting case. With my limited legal knowledge I could see arguments for both sides. I'm interested to see what the countries top legal minds have to say on the matter.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 19, 2017 8:26 p.m.

    @Hutterite "That's OK. Just make sure it's all religions. That way no religion can claim victim status; it's not a slight on one as it is a separation from the concept."

    By that logic, it is ok for the government to discriminate against the non-religious (atheists) so long as it treats all atheists the same, bad way.

    That is not acceptable. It violates the 1st amendment. It also violates the spirit of the constitutional prohibition on having religious tests for public office.

    The anti-religious bigots need to enter the 21st century.

    Bigotry against churches, religion, or those with theists beliefs is no less small-minded, ignorant, offensive, and just plain stupid than was/is bigotry against skin color, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin. It is also every bit as self-defeating and dangerous.

    If government can discriminate against theist organizations, individuals, or beliefs, it can just as easily discriminate against atheist organizations, individuals, or beliefs.

    Be very careful what you wish for.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    April 19, 2017 7:00 p.m.

    I think it is nuts, the way we twist words, and allow them to be twisted by others:
    I read this "... First Amendment's establishment clause, which prevents government from favoring one faith group over others."

    The first amendment reads; "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

    As you can see, this is a restriction on Congress. They are not permitted to pass a law creating a bunch of hoops you have to go through in order to start (establish) a church, nor are they permitted to pass a law that prohibits people from practicing their religion, such as prohibiting prayer in school.

    They have taken every alternate definition of the word "establish" and attempted to apply it to this issue.

    When will the madness end?

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    April 19, 2017 6:54 p.m.

    Forget about the legal question -

    Who wants their child playing on toxic tire shreds glued together?

    Tire shreds are nasty and cause cancer.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    April 19, 2017 6:53 p.m.

    The money for the grants come from a tire recycling fee paid to the state. From this fee the grants are written.

  • the greater truth Bountiful, UT
    April 19, 2017 6:21 p.m.

    Religions and churches are part of the 'public'. How are not equally entitled to that money as any other organization created by said public.

    Before you claim they don't pay taxes, many non-religious organizations and people receive "public money" who do not pay taxes.

    Constitutional rights such as equal treatment under the law are not based payment of taxes.

    If the government has taken so much money that they can it away to private organizations and people, they have taxed too much. They are simply stealing it from those it rightly belongs and giving it to another.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 19, 2017 5:10 p.m.

    The men and women who fought and died in the several wars to bring America to the point where it is today, did so for the for the American idealism that all men and women are created equal and should have equal opportunity to attain the good life. Just like I did, they pledged to support the Constitution and the American government.

    Regions opted out by the discrimination of the First Amendment and thus refused to yield their right to discriminate and to honor the American equal justice and freedom for all, promised in the Declaration of Independence.

    The expectation of everyone pulling his own weight gave acceptance to the church’s objections and America was born. However, as the population grows, the problems associated with the contrary ideas will kill America.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    April 19, 2017 3:53 p.m.

    Why are religions always trying to get some of Caesar's wealth and power?

    Are there really no believers willing to buy some shredded old tires for this little school? They have no choice but to take public goods?

    "My kingdom is not of this world," said Jesus. Yet so many of his followers build worldly kingdoms with astonishing amounts of material wealth!

  • Back Talk Federal Way, WA
    April 19, 2017 3:27 p.m.

    Be careful what you wish for.

    It is an interesting debate with unforseen consequences that could result. So many issues and consequences to take into consideration. I expect that is why any ruling will be pretty narrow.

    However, if the State provides money for the education of each citizen, shouldnt that citizen be able to spend that money at any accredited school? If a State provides money for safety of childrens equipment, shouldnt a Religious sponsored charity or business be eligible for that same safety equipment?

    If you say yes, dont complain when Muslims want public support of a school that teaches America is the devil.

    If I am not mistaken, doesnt New York provide public schools specifically for the needs of Fundamentalist Jews that live together in that area? I thought they did.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 19, 2017 3:09 p.m.

    So when the state rejects the Lutheran owned daycare, on the basis of religion, it is plain and simple discrimination on the basis of religion.
    That's OK. Just make sure it's all religions. That way no religion can claim victim status; it's not a slight on one as it is a separation from the concept.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    April 19, 2017 2:36 p.m.

    Let us look at the actual list of entities allowed to apply for this particular grant:

    Type of Applicant (Check one)
    Park or Park District
    Non-Profit Entity (attach legal status documentation) (they don't pay taxes)
    Private School
    Public Entity
    Institution Government Organization Other (Explain)

    So when the state rejects the Lutheran owned daycare, on the basis of religion, it is plain and simple discrimination on the basis of religion.

    Stipulations in the grant application do not attach any strings other than reporting the costs, the product mixtures and who performed the work. Anti religionists think there are things that need to be attached but are not.

    The issue is the state has discriminated against issuing the grant to this day care because of religion alone.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    April 19, 2017 1:22 p.m.

    Interesting case with broader ramifications.

    I don't see how the justices drew a parallel to police and fire protection.

    Grants that directly help the church with their property that they control is different than providing police or fire protection, which the church doesn't control.

    In the end it comes down to the strings attached. If religious institutions want tax dollars, just like any entity, they need to follow the stipulations that come with it.