KFNX1100AM Listen Live
Air America


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

February 25, 2004

The Year Of The Court
Jesus should be OK by SCOTUS

2004 is shaping up as 2000 ultimately ended - with the courts making the difference betrween winning and losing.

The sheer number of decisions in the hands of the courts, specifically in Pennsylvannia (redistricting) and the Supreme Court (redistricting, Pledge of Allegience, and any other emergency issue that comes before the court) can define the year in politics and energize voters in perhaps a way that the current crop of politicians don't - for their own base, that is.

Yesterday the US Supreme Court decided that the state of Washington could deny a grant to someone studying divinity.

[UPDATE 11:01 - Damnit, I hate when Atrios
gets there first. :) It makes me seem like I'm aping the Eschaton.]

That doesn't seem right. Yes, you read that correctly.

And as sick as it sounds, this puts me on the same side as Justices Scalia and Thomas. Usually with such associatioin I'd assume the opposite position just on principle.

I'm all for the seperation of Church and State - just look at Bush's announcement in favor of a Family Marriage Amendment where he mentioned, by way of justification, that no "major" church sanctifies or endorses gay marriage -- but this also smacks of direct discrimination against religion.

Court OKs Denial of Divinity Scholarships

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court, in a new rendering on separation of church and state, voted Wednesday to let states withhold scholarships from students studying theology, even when money is available to students studying anything else.

The court's 7-2 ruling said the state of Washington was within its rights to deny a taxpayer-funded scholarship to a college student who was studying to be a minister.

"Training someone to lead a congregation is an essentially religious endeavor," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the court majority. "Indeed, majoring in devotional theology is akin to a religious calling as well as an academic pursuit."
the Bush administration argued that the state had been wrong to yank the scholarship from former student Joshua Davey.

Davey won a state Promise Scholarship, but the state rescinded the money when it learned what he planned to study.

Like 36 other states, Washington prohibits spending public funds on this kind of religious education. Bans on public funds for religious education, often known as Blaine amendments, date to the 19th century, when anti-Catholic sentiment ran high.

"It does not deny to ministers the right to participate in the political affairs of the community. And it does not require students to choose between their religious beliefs and receiving a government benefit. The state has merely chosen not to fund a distinct category of instruction."

Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

Particularly in the last quote there I can only say "huh?"

"The state has merely chosen not to fund a distinct category of instruction."

So if the state decided to not fund teaching, that would be OK?

Or am I looking over the simple fact that he is studying in a church, not in a regular school?

Decision link here (PDF).