Supreme Court: States don't have to treat "devotional theology" like all other subjects
The Supreme Court stood on its head today. Actually, had five of the seven justices actually done headstands in the Supreme Court building, it would perhaps have been less of a surprise than today's decision in Locke v. Davey.

Here's a little history: In Rosenberger v. Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia (1995), the Supreme Court said that the government must fund a religious publication if it funds other student publications. In Good News Club v. Milford Central School (2001), the Supreme Court similarly said that a public school can't ban a religious group if it opens the door to all other groups.

Hear the principle? Open the door to some, open the door to all—even the religious.

It seemed straightforward enough, but apparently the Supreme Court is singing from a different songbook than thought. Today, it said that Washington State may deny scholarships to students pursuing religion-related degrees even if the door is open to all other areas of study. In other words, it seems, the state may discriminate against religion.

Washington is one of 36 states with what's known as a "Blaine amendment" in the state constitution. These amendments, part of an anti-Catholic campaign a century and a half ago, ban any public funding of religious education. And seven of the justices have no problem with that.

"Washington's program imposes neither criminal nor civil sanctions on any type of religious service or rite," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the court majority. "It neither denies to ministers the right to participate in community political affairs … nor requires students to choose between their religious beliefs and receiving ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's executive editor. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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