Unmasking “The Federalist Society”

AKA: State Funding of Religious Schools is a Terrible Idea

I saw an excellent YouTube ad for the Federalist Society, that presented what seemed on the surface to be a fair and balanced view of an issue I was interested in. The ad had the tag: “Debate – Discuss – Decide”. It sounded good. So I went to their site. Alas, I was misled.

The YouTube ad was about the Blaine Amendments — amendments to State Constitutions that in effect say the state is not allowed to fund religious schools. Now that the Supreme Court has been perverted by the legislative into a right-wing rubber stamp (by virtue of refusing to vote on Obama’s nominated candidate for more than a year), the Supreme Court has said that states can fund religious schools, if they want to.

Actually, that may be a decent Constitutional decision, for all I know. I’m just aggravated by a party that has held the judiciary hostage to an extreme political agenda. If that is the way our democracy is going to work from now on, we can look forward to even more extreme swings from right, to left, and back again.
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The ad sounded like the site was going to be a decent platform for debate and discussion. (That’s what the ad said, after all.) And it was a compelling ad, so I went to the site and joined, thinking that would let me be part of the discussion. Then I searched for the article.

It took only moments to find it. However, upon viewing it, there turned out to be zero opportunity for discussion or debate. Instead the whole site turns out to be a front for tea party politics. That’s fine, in terms of the ideas they’re promoting. They have every right to do that. But I joined on the premise that I would be engaged in discussion. And there was no option to drop out, as far as I could tell. So I sent them a letter, asking them to remove me from their membership roles:

You see, my position is that you have turned “Separation of Church and State” on its head, by advancing the proposition that all religious schools should be funded by the state. That would include Scientology, The Church of Latter Day Saints, Moslem Mosques, Yoga studios that teach Hinduism, and any oddball that gets himself registered as a religion.

Now in the first place, that proposition flies in the face of common sense. If every religion is supported, who decides what is or isn’t a religion? And how on earth can all of them be supported by the government? (And perhaps most important: How would you like it if your tax dollars were going to support a religion you don’t agree with?)

That proposition also represents a change to the principle the Founding Fathers advanced, that people are guaranteed FREEDOM of religion. In other words, “government shall take no action to PREVENT people from exercising religious choice”. Your directive seeks to ADVANCE the cause of religion (presumably, religions you favor), which is a DIRECT VIOLATION of the separation of Church and State”. (In other words, the proposition you advance sounds reasonable on the surface, but in reality, it is a direct violation of the principle you claim to support.)

Also: Given the great harm done by the Christian religion in the past — and by religions in the Middle East currently — I for one am extremely grateful for the Separation of Church and State in here in America. (Now if we can only achieve a Separation of Corporation and State, we can begin a return to the glory days of shared prosperity that was the America I grew up in.)

At any rate, you should know that I was impressed by the ad, and by the fair and balanced way in which it seemed to present the issues. So I came to the site, interested in interacting with people who were willing to take a candid look at the implications of the proposition. (And to do so in an atmosphere of calm rationality!)

What I found instead was a one-way presentation of policies that you folks prescribe, and with which I disagree.

Accordingly, please remove me as a member of your organization. It’s great that you are advancing your cause. That is what makes democracy work. But given that I have no voice here, I choose not to participate further.


I’m happy to report that they responded immediately, without rancor, and rescinded my membership right away! So they have my thanks!

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