Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Equality For Religious Believers, Barely, For Now

The Supreme Court thwarted the anti-christian left in its latest design to disadvantage religious believers, and to cut off the charter-school escape route from public-school indoctrination.  The Court voted 5-4 to deny a taxpayer standing to challenge an Arizona tax credit program for parents of children in private schools. The suit alleged that granting a tax credit to such parents is tantamount to subsidizing religious education, and therefore a violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.  Separation of Church and State, and all that.

It surprises non-Americans to learn that parents of children in US religious schools are denied government assistance, yet they are forced to subsidize the secular, often anti-religious, education of everyone else's children who attend school for free.  Lefties deny religious believers the kind of affirmatively-obligated benefits they demand of the government for themselves and anyone who will acquiesce to them.  And, the Supreme Court generally obliges them in their duplicity. With few exceptions, public schools in the US have become indoctrination centers where little children are taught politically correct bromides, and preached to about the mystical properties of condoms before they are physically capable of using them.   In this video, children are initiated into the cult of "Barack Hussein Obama, Mm, Mm, Mm," while imbibing liberal sound bites. 

Believe it or not, had the Arizona program entailed a government expenditure, it would have been ruled unconstitutional as an establishment of religion.  It's OK under post WW II jurisprudence for the government to "establish" irreligion, or anti-religion by making such expenditures.  It's only religion that the founding fathers presumably wanted to prejudice (which is undoubtedly why they enshrined the free exercise of religion as the person's first constitutional right, and protected it against the establishment of a federal church analogous to the Church of England;  Oh well, never mind the history.)  This program survived the censorial axe because it involved a tax credit--money that the government doesn't take from taxpayers--rather than an expenditure of money it's already taken.

Obama appointee, Elena Kagan, wasn't impressed with the distinction, which she referred to as one without a difference.  "Either way, government has financed the religious activity.  And so either way, taxpayers should be able to challenge the subsidy."  This quote reveals that Justice Kagan is not a very precise thinker.  Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, points out that Kagan's position "assumes that income should be treated as if it were government property even if it has not come into the tax collector's hands." The point is that the government is not financing the activity "either way"; it only extends a subsidy by giving the money out of its own accounts, not the taxpayers'.  What Kagan meant to say is that either way, government action, or inaction, has made it easier for citizens to engage in religious activity.  And, that is the state of affairs that seven decades of leftish legal sophistry has aimed at preventing.  The thrust of liberal Church-State jurisprudence is to discourage religious activity by making it comparatively, and actually, more costly to engage in than lefty approved activity, which is subsidized.  Economic realities are used to deter the religious upbringing of future Americans, analogously to the way that President Obama stated during the campaign he would deter coal mining: by making it so costly via legislative and regulatory burdens that no one could profitably engage in it.  The activity is not outlawed outright; it is merely handicapped out of existence.

With respect to President Obama's Supreme Court appointee, it's scary (but not surprising), and speaks poorly of her objectivity and ability to reason precisely, that Justice Kagan thinks government subsidizes an activity by merely refraining from taking away taxpayers' money that is spent on it.  The Journal queries whether Justice Kagan thinks the "government [is] also establishing religion by not imposing a 100% tax rate on churches, mosques and synagogues?"  Her "reasoning" would go further, it seems, to hold that anything less than 100% tax on individual incomes might be a government subsidy of religious activity, and therefore run afoul of the Establishment Clause.

Sadly, but again not surprisingly, it was only a 5-4 victory.  The left never gives up, and won't until the last religious believer is harassed, marginalized and driven "into the closet" (underground).  That's what lefties mean by high sounding words such as liberty, tolerance, pluralism and equality.  To it's credit, Eric Holder's Justice Department finally took the average American's side of a dispute.  Noman's guess is  that the Obama Administration must be very worried about the 2012 elections, and used this case to partially establish its Bubba bona fides.

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