2013 State of the States: With Many Legislatures Tilting Right and 'Prayer' Caucuses on the Prowl, Church-State Separation May Be in Trouble in the Coming Year

By Brown, Simon | Church & State, January 2013 | Go to article overview

2013 State of the States: With Many Legislatures Tilting Right and 'Prayer' Caucuses on the Prowl, Church-State Separation May Be in Trouble in the Coming Year


Brown, Simon, Church & State


Multiple courts have said "no" to states that want public schools to teach "intelligent design" creationism in science classes, but that doesn't faze Montana State Rep. Clayton Fiscus (R-Billings).

Fiscus, a Tea Party favorite whose professional background is in real estate, asked the legislative services staff of the Montana House of Representatives in November to come up with a bill for the 2013 legislative session that would "require public schools to teach intelligent design along with evolution."

Lawmakers like Fiscus often push their agenda in defiance of established constitutional law, and sometimes hope they can create a case to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn previous decisions that contradict their personal beliefs. Americans United combated a wide array of state-level legislative schemes in 2012 that sought to tear down the critical safeguards that keep church and state separate.

With most state legislatures starting their annual sessions this month, here is a look at some of the top threats to church-state separation ex expected in 2013, including school voucher bills, creationism ploys, "conscience" exemptions, anti-shariah legislation and so-called "religious freedom" and "prayer" caucuses.

* Religious School Voucher Subsidies

Americans United anticipates proposals that benefit religious and other private schools to surface in many states this year, with major pushes expected in New Jersey, Wisconsin, Texas and Tennessee.

In New Jersey, a voucher scheme is likely in the works thanks to the persistence of Gov. Chris Christie (R). Christie tried to implement a program in 2012, with a proposal that would have cost the state $825 million. It would have provided 40,000 eligible students with vouchers -$8,000 for elementary school and $11,000 for high school--the Newark Star-Ledger reported.

Christie said in June of 2012 that the bill was dead for that year, but vowed "to continue to push for it," the Teaneck Patch reported.

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) is expected to seek the expansion of an existing voucher subsidy program. He said in November that his agenda for the coming year includes doing more to push vouchers, though he didn't go into specifics, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Wisconsin Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) was quick to criticize Walker's mission to "hyper scrutinize" public schools while giving more taxpayer money to private schools that are "unaccountable" and have been shown in studies to produce students who perform no better than their public school peers, the Wisconsin State Journal said.

In Texas, meanwhile, a serious showdown is expected over private school vouchers, with sharp divisions even among members of the state GOP. State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston), founder of his state's Tea Party Caucus and chair of the Senate Education Committee, held a one-sided hearing in August featuring a parade of "school choice" advocates.

The Austin American-Statesman noted that Texas cut $5.4 billion from public schools in the last legislative session. Patrick seems to subscribe to a philosophy of siphoning even more money away from those schools and then blaming them for their supposed failures so he can turn around and fund private schools.

"No student should be locked into a poor performing school because that happens to be where they live," he told the American-Statesman. "I'm a big supporter of public education, and we have a lot of schools that are doing a great job, but we must also recognize the truth that we have a lot of schools that are not performing at the level that they need to be."

Patrick and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) were expected at press time to announce their voucher legislation within a few weeks, but it seems they may not get the warmest reception for the plan--even from some fellow Republicans.

The American-Statesman reported in August that Rep. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

2013 State of the States: With Many Legislatures Tilting Right and 'Prayer' Caucuses on the Prowl, Church-State Separation May Be in Trouble in the Coming Year
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.