The Supreme Court is considering yet another case involving public funding of religious schools, Carson v. Makin. The case raises important questions about the fate of faith-based schools and institutions in an aggressively secular society.

Readers of First Things are undoubtedly aware of the 19th-century “Blaine amendments” intended to prevent public funds from going to Catholic schools. These provisions, and more recent invocations of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, long required parents who wanted a religious education for their children to pay for it themselves.

Supreme Court decisions over the past twenty years, such as Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002), have whittled away at this requirement. In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue (2020), the Court ruled that “A state need not subsidize private education. But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.” …

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