A Necessary Rebalancing
Posted: Jun 24, 2022 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
When our union first formed, many states had affiliations with various Christian denominations. There was no separation of church and state. Contrary to current dogma, while Jefferson wrote about a separation of church and state, it was always that the federal government could not advance or hinder religion, nor could the federal government pick between denominations.At the state level, until the 20th century, states had close ties to churches. In 1875, after passage of the 14th Amendment, President Ulysses S. Grant advocated for a constitutional amendment that would fund free education but prohibit state funding of religious schools. Republican Rep. James G. Blaine of Maine proposed the amendment and it failed by four votes in the Senate.Grant’s support for the measure and Blaine’s advocacy for the measure were explicitly premised on stopping Catholic education of immigrants in the United States, particularly the Irish. In the 19th century, instead of fretting about Hispanic immigrants, Americans fretted about the Irish. What is notable is that the debate over Blaine’s amendment clearly showed the legal scholars and politicians of the day thought government money could, in some way, go toward sectarian schools. Blaine’s amendment re …