Theology prompts U.S. Supreme Court to consider Missouri’s Constitution
Don HinklePathway Editor
June 3, 2003
JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri’s Constitution prohibits taxpayer money from being used to pay for theology majors’ tuition at universities and colleges, but that may change when the U.S. Supreme Court considers the matter this winter.
The high court agreed May 27 to hear an appeal from the state of Washington over whether government money can be spent on religious education. It will be a follow-up to last year’s landmark ruling upholding school voucher programs. In that case the Supremes voted, 5-4, affirming that government vouchers are constitutional as long as they provide parents a choice among a range of religious and secular schools.
Missouri is one of 15 states that have constitutional bans on government spending for theology classes. Justices will decide whether such bans deny a student’s freedom of religion, as protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The case involves a Washington state theology student who wanted to use a state grant program to help pay his tuition at Northwest College, an affiliate of the Assemblies of God denomination. At first the state approved the student for $1,125 in 1999, but then refused to pay it when it realized the student was a theology major.
The student sued the state, but a federal district court ruled in the state’s favor. The student appealed and the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco subsequently ruled, 2-1, that the state of Washington was wrong in denying the student the grant. It is the state’s appeal of the Ninth Circuit’s decision that the Supreme Court will hear.
This is nothing more than discrimination based on religion. There is no good reason why a student, from say Hannibal-LaGrange College or Southwest Baptist University, shouldn’t receive state scholarship money if they desire to study what was once called “the queen of sciences,” theology. Such a ban relegates religious studies and theology students to second-class treatment.
Predictably the liberal lobby is loading its guns, crying that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling violates the fraudulent “constitutional principle” of separation between church and state.
“Taxpayers should never be required to subsidize religious instruction. That essential principle is really what’s at stake in this case,” said Barry Lynn, executive director of the ultra-liberal Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Lynn, who fancies himself as a champion of sorts for homosexual rights, seems oblivious to the obvious: no one should be barred from such scholarship programs because of their career choice. So much for academic freedom, too, I suppose.
Of course Americans United haa no problem with taxpayers subsidizing sex education in public schools where a pro-homosexual climate is promoted and agnostic secular humanist values are enforced.
The separation-of-church-and-state argument is one of the grandest frauds ever perpetrated against American citizens. The phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear in the Bill of Rights or the Constitution. But I’ll tell you where references to God and His inerrant, infallible Word DO appear: on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; throughout the Supreme Court building; on our currency; in our Pledge of Allegiance; at the Jefferson Memorial, on the Vietnam Memorial; on the Liberty Bell, at the Lincoln Memorial.
Even when military color guards fold the Stars and Stripes 13 times into a perfect triangle to be presented to the graveside families during the funerals of their dead loved ones who served in America’s armed forces, six of the 13 folds — each with a distinctive meaning — have references to God. I could go on and on, but I think you get my point.
I am not going to rehash the history behind the myth of separation of church state. Suffice it to say that the phase, “separation of church and state,” was lifted out of private letter written in 1802 by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptist Association by liberal Supreme Court justices reflective of the socialist policies advocated by President Franklin Roosevelt. They distorted the phase – which had no legal binding or precedent – in order to overturn nearly 200 years of legal standing on an issue that was thought to be beyond debate.
Several books have been published recently quoting the words of our Founding Fathers on the subject, words that smash the notion that a constitutional wall exists between church and state. It is clear the Founding Fathers never intended for there to be a “wall of separation between church and state,” but rather to make sure the government does not promote one particular denomination. Among them David Barton’s book, Original Intent, and Dee Wampler’s, The Myth of Separation Between Church & State. Wampler, by the way, is a member of Second Baptist Church, Springfield. There is also an excellent Web site maintained by the Christian Law Association that provides a succinct refutation of the so-called “wall of separation between church and state.” It can be read at: christianlaw.org/separation_church_state.html.
It is time for discrimination against religion to end and perhaps the Supreme Court will have the wisdom to do so in the state of Washington case. The next time someone throws “separation of church and state” in your face, remind them of the words of Presidents George Washington and Andrew Jackson.
Said Washington: “It is impossible rightly to govern the world without God and the Bible.”
Said Jackson: “The Bible is the rock on which our republic rests.”
To which I say: Amen!