Maine AG’s response to Supreme Court win for religious schools blasted as ‘baffling and offensive’

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Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey was blasted for hitting the brakes on religious schools celebrations after the Supreme Court struck down a state law prohibiting them from receiving public funds.In a 6-3 decision, the Court ruled last week in Carson v. Makin that the state of Maine had violated the free exercise of religion clause in the First Amendment for religious schools, by exempting them from their tuition assistance program. Frey released a statement following the Court’s initial ruling, sharing his disappointment and listing what he considered the ills of the religious institutions named in the lawsuit. According to the AG, the two schools involved in the lawsuit, Temple Academy in Waterville or Bangor Christian Schools, have policies that discriminate against students and staff in terms of sexual orientation or gender identity, preventing their participation in the tuition program. He said that all schools receiving state tuition must abide by the Maine Human Right Act, which bans discriminating against someone because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability.  MEDIA MELTDOWN OVER SUPREME COURT RULING IN FAVOR OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS: ‘PRIME CHRISTIAN NATIONALIST STUFF’
In this photo taken Jan. 26, 2016, the empty playground at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo. Justice Neil Gorsuch’s first week hearing Supreme Court arguments features a case that’s giving school choice advocates hope for an easier use of public money for private, religious schools in dozens of states. 
(Annaliese Nurnberg/Missourian via AP)”I am terribly disappointed and disheartened by today’s decision,” Frey said in the statement. “Public education should expose children to a variety of viewpoints, promote tolerance and understanding, and prepare children for life in a diverse society. The education provided by the schools at issue here is inimical to a public education. They promote a single religion to the exclusion of all others, refuse to admit gay and transgender children, and openly discriminate in hiring teachers and staff. One school teaches children that the husband is to be the leader of the household.”  SUPREME COURT: COLUMNIST TORCHED FOR TWEETS TRYING TO INCITE BACKLASH AGAINST RULING ON RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS”While parents have the right to send their children to such schools, it is disturbing that the Supreme Court found that parents also have the right to force the public to pay for an education that is fundamentally at odds with values we hold dear,” he continued. “I intend to explore with Governor Mills’ administration and members of the Legislature statutory amendments to address the Court’s decision and ensure that public money is not used to promote discrimination, intolerance, and bigotry.” 
Outside United States Supreme Court June 25
(Fox News Digital/Lisa Bennatan)Jacob Posik, director of communications at Maine Policy Institute, wrote in an op-ed for the Bangor Daily News that Frey is “scrambling to change the statute.” He expanded on what he framed as the folly of Frey’s arguments in an interview with Fox News Digital. Frey suggested in his statement that the program is intended to provide the equivalent of a public education. But, Posik said, “nothing could be further from the truth.” Maine enacted the state tuition program in 1873, he noted, and it was used to send kids to religious schools until the exclusion was codified in 1981.”So for him to say that this program was never intended to be used this way, it’s just entirely devoid of historical context and the reality,” Posik said, adding that Chief Justice John Roberts reiterated much of the same in the court’s opinion. “But he starts off by reiterating comments that the court struck down,” Posik said of Frey. “He says public funds cannot be used to attend a private school that promotes religion because such schools, by definition, do not provide the equivalent of a public education. And then if you actually go through – if you go through the ruling and read it, John Roberts really eviscerates him. He says the statute doesn’t say anything of the such.”   “And then so for him to for him to reiterate the same argument that he made before the court, that the court rejected and put it out in a press release, is beyond irresponsible,” he later added.
Activists flocked to the Supreme Court following the overturn of Roe v. Wade on Friday June 24, 2022. 
(Fox News Digital/Lisa Bennatan)Carroll Conley, executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, told Fox News Digital why he believed Frey’s statement was “the very definition of bigotry.””We commend the nation’s highest court for striking down Maine’s 40-year discriminatory prohibition of sectarian schools’ participation in tuition programs,” Conley said. “Our AG‘s response to losing this case was simultaneously baffling and offensive. His assertion that sectarian schools are ‘inimical to a public education’ simply for not aligning with the state’s orthodoxy regarding human sexuality is the very definition of bigotry.” CNN WORRIES SUPREME COURT RULING IN FAVOR OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS ‘ERODES’ ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSEHe offered some hypotheticals as he continued to slam the attorney general’s legal threats.”Does AG Frey contend that a Hebrew school is practicing intolerance for insisting its Torah instructor be an adherent of Judaism?” Conley asked. “Would a Muslim school who chose not to employ a male kindergarten teacher expressing himself as a female be disqualified for discrimination? Would a parochial school be considered bigoted for allowing students to express themselves as cats or dogs? I do not know of anyone who thought the state of Maine would prevail in this case, and yet our Attorney General insists on wasting taxpayers’ money by ignoring this ruling and pursuing legal action that would thwart this expansion of educational choice to families regardless of their financial circumstances.”CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”It appears the Maine Attorney General isn’t tired of losing yet,” Corey DeAngelis, senior fellow at the American Federation for Children and a board member of Liberty Justice Center, told Fox News Digital. “After opponents of educational freedom took a massive L at the Supreme Court of the United States last week, they’re already grasping at straws trying to figure out other ways to discriminate against religious families. Further discrimination against religious families would violate the free exercise clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. SCOTUS has consistently ruled in favor of religious liberties in education. If Maine wants to lose again by trying to find other ways to discriminate against religious families, so be it.”School choice proponents cheered the Maine religious school ruling as a win for their movement because it could open doors for programs that offer parents more control over their kids’ education.  Cortney O’Brien is an Editor at Fox News. Twitter: @obrienc2

Mojtaba Sadira

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