Anti-Catholicism has been called America’s last acceptable prejudice. Acceptable or not, it is enshrined in the constitutions of more than half the U.S. states. Inspired by the original 1875 congressional supporter, James Blaine, state “Blaine” amendments barred funding for “sectarian” schools, which in Protestant America at the time meant Catholic schools.
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But the worm has turned. The judges charged with interpreting those constitutions today are interpreting sectarian to mean all religions. Consider recent decisions from Colorado and Missouri, which the U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to review.
The Colorado case, Doyle v. Taxpayers for Public Education, concerns a scholarship program that the Douglas County School District adopted to provide greater educational opportunities. The school district provides modest scholarships to students, who can use them to attend private schools—religious or nonreligious—of their parents’ choosing.