by Craig Master —
When Denver District Judge Michael Martinez ruled that the Douglas County school voucher program was not “constitutional,” he believed he was following the law. But which law was he following? From the text of his ruling, it is evident Martinez based his ruling on several 20th century interpretations of the Constitution by the Supreme Court from which has now come the phrase, “separation of church and state”. Clearly, his ruling builds on a half-dozen precedent cases from the recent 50 years, not the strength forged over the earlier 150 years. His ruling was simply not based on the original Constitution at all.
That phrase, by the way, is actually the bastardization of Jefferson’s description of a wall of separation to keep government out of the church’s business. But as Jefferson himself explained, the “wall” was never intended to keep the church out of government. Indeed, from the founding fathers all the way through the first half of the 20th century, the government was not separated from any religion and even as late as 1947 the Supreme Court ruled that public school buses could transport children to catholic and other private schools. The issue was the preference of one denomination over another as in …. the Church of England.
So what went wrong? Not nearly as recognizable as Roe v Wade or the Scopes Monkey Trial, a 1962 ruling in the case of Engle v Vitale became the cornerstone for an all out silencing of public school prayer, and eventually the outlawing of religious symbols on public property. That, by the way, is why Christmas trees aren’t allowed in front of public buildings. The ACLU and the liberal courts were so emboldened by several such successful cases that even the Pledge of Allegiance was declared unconstitutional in 2002 by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (Nancy Pelosi’s home district). Sanity was granted temporarily when the Supreme Court ruled, 2 years later, that the plaintiff in that case was not legally allowed to be the plaintiff. That technicality resulted in the Court overturning the 9th district’s ruling, and so it was no longer illegal to recite the Pledge at a public event. But the basis of the ruling was held valid, so as soon as the ACLU can find a legitimate plaintiff, they’ll be back.
But there remains a much more important question. The school voucher money is not now and never was the government’s. It was given by citizens to citizens. The school board was simply allowed to be the middleman. The board’s job, as directed by the citizens whose money the school board is entrusted to handle, was to give the money to families who wanted their children to have an education they couldn’t otherwise afford. There are many choices for those families. Some of those choices may be a Muslim school, or a Jewish school, or even, Heaven forbid, a Catholic school. In any case, the government has more than enough control over all of those choices to ensure the children are safe and the education criteria meet certain standards. Beyond that, it should not be any business of the government at any level which school those families choose to educate their children.
When the citizens of Douglas County chose to give some of their hard earned money to their neighbors for education, they did not tie strings to the money establishing a specific religion. And, as was intended by Jefferson himself, they did not dictate that religion was to be excluded. Instead, they left the choices of which private schools their neighbors wanted to have educate their children up to the individual families receiving the gift. How the @#!*% does Martinez think he has the right to interfere at all? Especially after waiting three months and money has been transferred to those schools!
It is the responsibility (yes, I know freedom is a lot of hard work) of the citizens whose generosity is being hijacked by unconstitutional rulings from activist judges like Martinez, to stop the theft of the law and insure the government of the people, is by the people, and serves for the people. Otherwise we will be servants to a government of bureaucrats, law by judges, governing for the select few with the power to take from the may to use as they see fit.