Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 9, 2003 / 12 Elul, 5763

Will American Jewry be silent about religious discrimination?

By Nathan J. Diament


Printer Friendly Version

Email this article


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | The organized Jewish community has an opportunity to announce whether it will continue to insist that the U.S. Constitution demands government discrimination against religion. The Supreme Court will address this question head on this autumn in the case of Locke v. Davey.

Joshua Davey graduated from high school in 1999. He was in the top 10% of his class and came from a low-income family. These two facts won him a Washington State "Promise Scholarship" of $2,600 to be used toward his expenses in attending an accredited in-state college. In a congratulatory letter sent to Davey, Washington's Governor Gary Locke commended him on his achievement and noted that the purpose of the Promise Scholarship program was the state's interest in ensuring that "education…the great equalizer in our society" was more available Washington's students "regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or income…" But when Davey notified the state's Higher Education authority that he intended to pursue a double major in religious studies and business administration at Northwest College - a Christian college duly accredited by the state, his scholarship award was revoked.

Washington, like 37 other states, has a provision in its state constitution that is a broader ban on any form, even the most remote and indirect, of state support for religion than the federal constitution's Establishment Clause. This more aggressive language is unsurprising when one learns that these state provisions are known as "Blaine Amendments," linked to the late-1800s American anti-Catholic movement led by Senator James Blaine of Maine. Ironically, the anti-Catholic sentiment of that period arose from the fact that the growing community of Catholics in America objected to the Protestant doctrines that were taught in the publicly-funded schools and sought state funds to support the creation of Catholic schools. Hence, these provisions typically state that "No revenue of the state….shall be taken from the public treasury…in aid of any…religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution."

Donate to JWR

Putting aside the tainted lineage of these state constitutional provisions, the real issue in the Davey case is a straightforward one - whether Washington State's explicit discrimination against this student on the grounds that he chose to use his scholarship, awarded on the basis of neutral criteria for the secular purpose of promoting education, to study religion rather than science, literature or any other academic field, is legitimized by the dogmatic demand of strict separation of religion and state.

Analogous questions have been raised recently by federal regulatory reforms made pursuant to President Bush's "faith based initiative." Until last December, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had a policy under which it would deny federal disaster assistance to religious institutions. Thus, when Seattle's Jewish community day school suffered terrible damage in an earthquake 3 years ago, it was denied the federal funds for which it applied to repair its building, while those same sorts of funds were being used to repair offices, apartments and all other kinds of structures, solely on the basis that the school is a religious one. To its credit (?), Seattle's Jewish community put aside the traditional dogma on the church-state question and we worked in partnership with them to bring this inequity to the attention of the White House. Thankfully, President Bush ordered FEMA to change its policy and the Seattle Hebrew Academy will be receiving more than $1 million in aid this summer.

More recently, the federal Department of the Interior announced it would change its policy automatically excluding historically landmarked religious buildings from a program which awards grants to assist in historic preservation repairs. Despite the recognition by most people that Newport's Touro Synagogue and Boston's Old North Church are national treasures, as worthy of landmarking and preservation as any secular historic site, those who hew to the mantra of strict separation would have congregations associated with historic houses of worship such as these fend for themselves to upkeep those sites, again solely because of their religious affiliation.

In each of these instances, like Joshua Davey's case, the fundamental question before us is whether we will insist upon the government's neutrality toward religion - neither unduly favoring religion nor discriminating against it, or whether we will demand a policy of unequal treatment, ie: discrimination by government with regard to religion and its institutions.

The Jewish community, on the basis of its values and interests, should stand for the principles of equality, fairness and non-discrimination with regard to government's interaction with religious institutions. We cannot continue to believe that the disparate treatment of all things religious while secularist ideologies run rampant is consistent with our value system and our ability to impart those values to our children. Also, do we indeed wish to forego any public support for our community's institutions in an era of shrinking resources and increasing needs?

Which side is our community on?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in uplifting articles. Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Nathan J. Diament is the director of public policy for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, which filed a brief in support of Joshua Davey. Comment by clicking here.

© 2003, Nathan J. Diament