A horrible legislative legacy of anti-Catholicism remains in so many state constitutions. They’re called Blaine amendments and for decades if a territory wanted to be admitted into out Union, they had to adopt these very strict Blaine amendments against any funds going to aid any parochial schools.
Back then the anti-Catholicism came from Protestants worried about ‘Romanism.’ Today, Blaine amendments are supported by radical secularists who favor restrictions on religious liberty and want religious expression curtailed from the public square.
Case in point: In oral arguments at the Supreme Court today, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke fondly of these Blaine amendments:
Justice Sonia Sotomayor brought up the court’s recognition of space between the Establishment and the Free Exercise Clauses that allows states some “play in the joints.” She mentioned that Blaine Amendments—which she called an “admirable tradition” in our nation—prohibit public funds from going to churches.
Justice Samuel Alito asked Cortman if he agreed with Sotomayor that Blaine Amendments reflect an admirable tradition. Cortman emphatically said no, highlighting the anti-Catholic bigotry that animated the passage of many of these laws.
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