BJC blasts Supreme Court decision in Carson v. Makin
BJC General Counsel Holly Hollman reacts to the decision on government-funded religion.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2022
Media Contact: Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons / [email protected]
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 6-3 decision in Carson v. Makin, ruling that Maine is required to provide tuition at religious schools in its taxpayer-funded, state-run program that is intended to provide students with a public education.
The Court’s decision to require Maine to fund religious instruction threatens our nation’s commitment to religious freedom and the understanding of church-state separation that protects it. A majority of justices on the Supreme Court keep ignoring the distinctive role of religion in law and society, which is best served by separating the institutions of religion and government. That separation, which Maine sought to protect, is an important part of America’s religious liberty legacy, and it’s a key principle for historic Baptists and others who have long championed religious liberty for all and public education.
Today’s opinion in Carson v. Makin follows a recent trend away from treating religious institutions in distinct ways to avoid government involvement in religious matters. In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue (2020) and Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer (2017), the Court found the Free Exercise Clause required equal treatment of religious institutions for participation in a scholarship program and playground improvement grant program. Today’s decision goes a step farther by requiring funding of religious education in Maine’s tuition program.
BJC remains committed to our core principles of religious freedom. Forcing taxpayers to fund religious education undermines the secular nature of our government and the freedom of religious institutions to engage in ministry without government interference.
BJC (Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty) is an 86-year-old religiously based organization working to defend faith freedom for all and protect the institutional separation of church and state in the historic Baptist tradition.