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so that all faith schools - including Muslim schools - are compelled to ensure that one-third of their pupils are Muslim if they receive state funding.


Get real,what non-Muslin parents would be queing up to send their Children to a Muslin school? I really don't believe this rubbish is coming from spokespersons on behalf of the Tory Party.Those who spout this nonsense should get out in the real world where we live.

The word is "Muslim", Sandbagger 09:34 and I agree with your comment, likewise I doubt many Muslim parents would be first in line to send their children to Jewish schools etc etc. This open entry/quota idea all rather starts to defeat the ethos of "faith school" I would have thought.

Sandbagger 9.34 - well said!

It is staggering that any politician would imagine that any parent in his right mind would send his kids to a Madarassa - sorry, Muslim Faith School.

People like sending their children to C of E schools because they have on the whole a very good reputation.

Would there be no demand for a well-run school achieving good results and having well-behaved children just because it was an Islamic faith school? Having admission at such a school open to non-Muslims would also lead to the schools teaching Islam in the context of the real world of Britain.

If we are to have faith schools at all then Kenneth Baker's proposal seems a sensible one to keep them within the mainstream of society.

State funded schools should be multi-faith schools. Scrap CofE, RC, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish etc state funded schools. By all means faiths can open private schools. But any state funded schools ahould be non-religious. Religion would still be taught but as a general subject like history.

I'm afraid Lord Baker is dead-wrong here in my opinion. I can understand his point and see elements of sense behind it.

However, as has already been pointed out, this is, in effect, a double compulsion. A compulsion on a school to take pupils it might not otherwise take, that could become a compulsion on parents to send their children to a school they might not otherwise choose.

If a faith school is compelled to take x% of children who are not of that faith, what happens if there isn't the interest from parents. Would parents be forced to send their children to a faith school so it could meet its quota? Or, at the other end of the scale, what does a popular and over-subscribed faith school do? Is it compelled to turn away children whose parents actively want that shared faith element in their child's education to take children whose parents who do not fully subscribe to the school's ethos?

I do admit to having made a serious mistake in my last post on this subject. It is of course 'Muslim' and no doubt should have checked before sending it on it's way.The thrust of my post still remains the same as where I live,a Muslim school has been closed due to the poor standard of the teaching. I can see someone sending their children to a C of E school as there is no restrictions placed on the appointment of teachers and that they do tend to have a good record regarding discipline.

Paul - I never knew this was a spelling competition.

Alison, I tend to agree. Schools should be secular, to ensure that modern scientific proofs are not diluted by some religious mumbo jumbo.

Correct in principle.

Disastrous in practice - especially if enforced.

Or maybe Lord Baker is calling their bluff...

It is perfectly clear that no normal parents would dream of sending their kids to an Islamic school, hence no such school would meet the hurdle of 33% non-Islamic children, hence no state funding.

Lord Baker, I take my hat off to you!

Thank you Serf, I'll correct that now.

There is no way I would ever send my children to a Muslim Faith school - ever, under any circumstances. I doubt this is a minority view. Perhaps the answer would be to pair schools of different types and common campuses, but different schools. As is being tried in Scotland with Catholic and Protestant schools ?

"It is perfectly clear that no normal parents would dream of sending their kids to an Islamic school"

Are Muslims not normal? I'm no fan of political correctness, but that does seem a little impolite in its phrasing.

Mike Christie 12.11.

"normal" means "what most people do and think". From what I can see, Sandbagger, Man In A Shed and I are "normal" in this regard.

I am quite sure that not even all Muslim parents would want to send their children to a school that encourages self-segregation and a narrow syllabus.

Mike, it may not be that polite, but it is I suspect how the vast majority of parents feel. While the proposal of Lord Baker sounds very inclusive, it is in reality a non-starter.

At a time when there is great skepiticism between the Muslim and Christian communities, it is likely that parents will want to send their chidren to schools that are almost exclusively Christain or Muslim. Such targets such as a 25% or 33% will only be achieved by coercion and thus are destined to fail.

Mark, love the idea that this may have been a calculated statement by Lord Baker - would restore my faith in the party if it was!

In a world of individuals, who decides normal?

I'm sure you are right that many Muslims would choose a secular education, just as many Christians, Jews etc. do.

However, why should a majority of Muslims be denied the same rights as Christians, Jews and other faiths to have their own schools? Because of the actions of a lunatic fringe within Islam? Surely that is just playing into the hands of those who seek to portray the battle against Islamist terrorism as a crusade against the whole of Islam.

I went to a Catholic school, should my parents' right to choose that for me have been denied to them because of the actions of the IRA?

We should not define all Muslims as a 'them' opposed to a 'normal' 'us'.

"Mike, it may not be that polite, but it is I suspect how the vast majority of parents feel. While the proposal of Lord Baker sounds very inclusive, it is in reality a non-starter."

I agree entirely, if you read my earlier post you would see I feel this proposal has serious flaws. I am merely pointing out that the use of the word normal, in that context, implies that Muslims are not normal, which strikes me as a rather impolite sweeping generalisation.

Mike Christie puts the case against Lord Baker's proposal very well.

This measure, if passed, will compel parents who want to send their children to a faith school of their own faith to send their children elsewhere.

I'm chairman of governors of a Catholic primary school. The proposal as I understand it states that the first 30% of places are to be reserved for children of a different faith (or none) from the faith of the school.

In our case, I can see this leading to our school being hit by a double whammy:

1. Falling numbers - the 30% quota would not be filled

2. Catholic children who live in our village and previously entitled to attend our school being forced to travel miles to an alternative school when there are spaces available at our school, but to which they are not entitled!

This pattern would be repeated in Church of England and Catholic schools nationwide I suspect.

This is one of the worst pieces of social engineering proposed by a Conservative in many years.

I'd like to know how many white and black parents would send their children to a muslim faith school?

Lord Baker hasn't really thought of that has he? personally, I'm extremely unsure of faith schools, the point of them, and what their aims are. I don't think there is a clear and cohesive definition and until there is I dare say this debate will rage on.

Stop compelling schools to to do anything. Make them all independent of Whitehall and LEA's. Abolish LEA's, too, and set up local resource centres controlled by groups of local schools, instead. Lay minimal obligations upon governors in loose terms and let teachers and parents do their job.

The whole idea of faith schools is divisive, at best they promote their particular brand of mumbo-jumbo, at worst it entrenches separate, unassimilated communities.

Lord Baker may be concerned with the assimilation aspect and thus this amendement, but as others have pointed out it will never work in practice (unless that is the point).

All faith schools should be scrapped to avoid this lose-lose situation

Prodicus... you 'da' man!

Paul - I never knew this was a spelling competition.10:59

It isn't unless the word in question happens to be fundamental to the topic. ;)

Religion should surely be devolved from the formal education process - teach it at home if you must but school time and our taxes should not be wasted on such superstitious nonsense.

I've written about this idea once or twice before on my blog. The point about ensuring a quota of kids from other faiths should mean that Muslims schools (and others) would have to broaden their horizons to an all-inclusive education and in that way improve their teaching standards.

Right now we have the problem that we have to allow Muslims to have faith schools in the interests of non-discrimination, but we have a problem in that Ofsted reports poor teaching records many of them. If a faith school of any religion consistently turns out kids with good grades then non-religious parents (or even parents of other faiths) will send their children to them. It already happens with CofE schools. In time hopefully the same will be true of Jewish and Muslim faith schools, but it won't be an instant transformation.

This measure appears to be, in effect, an attempt to ensure that Muslims schools won't be able to teach in a wholly introverted manner, as many do now. They will have to comply with the curriculum, hopefully.

The obvious solution would be to abolish faith schools altogether, but they are pretty entrenched. Since it would be extremely difficult to do that, I think this is an acceptable stop-gap. We have to start tackling ghettoism somehow.

There seems to be some confusion among contributors here.

1. How are faith schools divisive?

There have been Catholic, Church of England and Jewish schools receiving funding from the state in Britain for more than a century and in the present form since the 1944 Education Act. Where is the societal division among Catholics, Anglicans and Jews?

Faith schools are typically more multi-racial than state schools in many areas and admit children of other faiths - my time in Pendle in Lancashire certainly confirms this.

2. Why do Conservatives wish to restrict choice and reduce high standards?

Faith schools consistently perform to higher standards than their nearest competitor state schools and are popular with parents - often oversubscribed.

3. Faith schools teach education in its wider sense - not merely preparing children to be a part of our economic system. They are not allowed to teach "mumbo-jumbo" as they work to the national curriculum.

With family and societal breakdown, major problems with juvenile disorder and the like and the relative failure of "citizenship" education why do certain Conservatives want to scrap faith schools?

This proposal is coming forward at this time and meets with some support because it is perceived to address issues with Muslim schools. As others have argued above, it is doubtful that it will address those issues, and at the same time it threatens to undermine part of our education system - namely other faith schools that still function well.

Adrian - As you know you and I agree with on a lot of issues, on this I have to depart from you.

There is a seperation of the state and religion in this country. It is one of the many issues that has enabled our small windswept island to punch well above its weight.

For the state to effectively sponsor religious teaching and coerce its people to fund religions that they have no belief themselves in, is in my view illjudged. Religion is a matter of conscience and not a matter for the general tax payer.

If we take Muslim schools in particular. As Islam views the Koran as the word of God, it is de facto that anything that is contary to the Koran is considered wrong. Where would that leave Darwin's origin of the Species? Would a scientifically ineluctable text be omitted from the classroom? The state would then be participating in restricting the education of some of its citizens.

"There is a seperation of the state and religion in this country."

No there isn't. The Queen is the head of state, and of the Church of England and there are laws regarding the religion of future heads of state.

There appears to be considerable confusion here.

Schools should be secular, to ensure that modern scientific proofs are not diluted by some religious mumbo jumbo.

Who asserts that 'secularism' does not have its own sinister agenda? Or that 'scientific proofs' are not themselves transient theories? The gospel of politically-correct godlessness can be every bit as lethal to a cohesive society as the divisions perceived to be caused by religion. And it is worth remembering that it was once science that insisted the earth was flat, and that the sun orbited the earth. Science progresses, and so may theology. The latter need not be 'mumbo jumbo' any more than science need be treated as God.

There is a seperation of the state and religion in this country. It is one of the many issues that has enabled our small windswept island to punch well above its weight.

Nonsense. Precisely the opposite is true. There is indeed such a separation in the United States, codified and formalised in its Constitution, precisely because of its colonial experience subject to an England where Church and State were fused. To this day, in this country there remains an Established Church, the Head of State is Supreme Governor of it, and its bishops sit in the legislature. It is considered by many politicians and historians, Churchill included, that it is precisely this involvement of the Divine in the affairs of man has 'enabled our small windswept island to punch well above its weight'.

Adrian Owens - a fair summary I suppose, but this goes beyond vague principles, we have to establish THE FACTS.

As a devout atheist, I can see the argument for scrapping CoE, RC and Jewish faith schools; this would pre-empt calls for State-funded Islamic schools. But would this be cutting of our nose to spite our face? CoE and RC schools have on the whole a good reputation and have been around for ages and this is a Christian society.

Jewish faith schools is a slightly different topic, the point is, if a politician criticises Israel, you do not see Jewish protestors on the streets calling for his head. Jews are a minority religion, but apart from that are perfectly well integrated into our society.

If we accept that integration is a Good Thing, then would having Islamic schools further this cause? Would such schools provide a standard of education as high as in CoE and RC schools? These are simple questions of fact, I do not claim to know the answer, but I assume that the answers would be "No" and "No" respectively.

Further, there ARE a lot of Muslims who would like to be a bit more integrated and are quite happy to send their kids to ordinary schools. If Islamic schools pop up all over the place, then there will be considerable peer pressure from more fundamentalist Muslims for all their children to be taken otu of mainstream schools and put into Islamic schools.

Lord Baker's idea that they only get State funding if they take 30% non-Muslims is of course a poison pill defense (he can't have meant it seriously); no non-Muslim parents would ever send his kids there, so by default they get no State funding. I can imagine that the usual self-appointed Islamic spokesmen will be up in arms about this idea, but hey.

So really, this boils down to the question, seeing that many Muslims are intent on self-segregation, should the government allow this to happen or try to prevent it? Which of course begs another question - CAN the government prevent this or is it a waste of effort and they should not even try for pragmatic reasons?

Prodicus reasserts the basic Tory philosophy that ALL schools should be completely independent, as approved in 100 Policies on this very site, with which I very much agree, except possibly in the context of this debate.

But this independence policy then opens up the floodgates to further ghettoisation and ultimately extremism. Is it better to just cave in to Islamic demands for equal treatment when it suits them but preferential treatment when it suits them as well?

Or do I actually care? As long as I can send my kids to a good school (whether because of independence, vouchers-for-schools or whatever) am I really that bothered that Muslim kids get a worse education? Would my kids be better off at a school without any Muslim kids (them all having been packed off to Islamic schools)?

And so on.

Surely we just need to make certain that all schools are subject to rigorous inspection and are forced to teach the national curriculum in English. This isn't about faith schools in general - the problem is Muslim schools. Simply inspect them properly and close them if they fail to meet standards - if crimes are being committed then prosecute. License imams to preach and teach and then act when if they break the rules. Naturally this won't happen as it would require courage.

Baker's plan will only harm non-Muslim schools - which will be oversubscribed immediately with eager non-Catholics etc - Muslim schools will not face a rush from non-Muslims wishing to be treated like second class citizens so the measure will sound right but achieve nothing... much like Lord Baker

This is my prediction should the Government follow his advice.

1. Muslim schools made to accept 33% non-Muslim pupils.

2. Non-Muslims do not choose to send their children to a Muslim school.

3. Government acts to ensure that the 33% are filled with non-Muslim pupils by forcing parents to send their children to Muslim schools.

4. More resentment and mistrust.

Tired and emotional - I like Lord Baker a lot because of his "English votes for English laws bill". If RC and CoE schools see a surge in applications, so what? As long as they can pick the best kids, that's their gain, isn't it? Obviously their schools will have to expand, but again, so what?

Christina - I doubt whether Lord Baker intends Step 3 to happen - it would be worrying if he did - what will happen is that no non-Muslims (aka "infidels" or "unbelievers") will apply, ergo no State funding, problem solved.

Mark, I would think the funding would come provided the places were made available - not if they were filled. Otherwise you could lose your funding one year cos only non-Muslim pupils were bussed in to be forcibly converted during the dinner break...

Ergo-- no problem for Muslim schools, big problem for other faith schools...

If you want schools to adhere to certain standards you have confront the section of the population you see as failing to match up...

sorry - "only 29 non-muslim pupils were bussed in..."

sorry - "only 29 non-muslim pupils were bussed in..."

The whole idea of this proposal is integration. However, I believe there are many better ideas to ensure this happens. Personally I am not a fan of faith schools and I think they should be taken out of the system altogether. Instead I would like to see religious education taught as a subject just like any other.
This still does not address the problem of segregation where in some areas nearly 100% of the children are from one community or another. Here I would like to see a change to the catchment areas or an admission policy based on ability and selection. In this way you would get a greater mix of children of all backgrounds interacting at an early age, thereby breaking down barriers and prejudices and hopefully over the course of time we would end up with a better society.

One further comment regarding Muslim schools.

I am in favour of state funding for Muslim schools. He who pays the piper etc .....

The state in our liberal society would have significant influence as the major funder of voluntary-aided Muslim schools. It could ensure that the religious education includes a consideration of other faiths as the syllabuses (syllabi?) require. (Our Catholic school for example is focussing on Hinduism this term).

Don't treat the Islamic faith as second class. Bring them into the mainstream and reduce the influence of private madrassas.

Why is it that on this thread of, I assume, Conservative Party supporters, only Prodicus responds to Baker's suggestion with a policy which would "set the people free"? In other words, a policy in the Conservative tradition.

Firstly, forced integration only creates resentment. People should be able to choose who they wish to mix with without the government looking over their shoulder.

Secondly, those who have called for an end to state faith schools will have to either commit the unconservative act of confiscating all C of E Schools (they're owned by the C of E) or the conservative but electorally impossible act of privatising them all.

Haven't read the Times but, to judge from the above comments, they must have printed a pretty cockeyed (or perhaps just seriously out of date) version of Lord Baker's proposals, which are that all new faith schools should be prepared to offer 25% of their places to those of other religions or none.

Key words are NEW - does not apply to exisiting schools (though I shall be arguing that it should) and OFFER - if no-one takes up the offer, they the places can go to the faithful.

Hope that calms some of the wilder of you.

Arguments for Lord Baker, who I support, focus on building community understanding. Northern Ireland and Glasgow should be all the reminder we need.

Catholic schools can be wonderful places for a non-Catholic to be (and remain truly Catholic despite the influx - ask any of the great Catholic independent schools). I can't see why Muslim schools cannot command the same affection - indeed some state schools with a large Muslim contingent (Camden Girls comes to mind) are popular with the rest of us precisely because of the virtues the Muslims bring with them.

In addition to my above post, abolishing C of E schools would also be electorally unpopular. Faith schools are very popular with parents. They will probably not vote for a party that dares to frustrate their choice. Similarly, any attempt at forced integration will probably get a negative responds. Never mess with parents when it comes to educating their children.

Until our best telescopes and space probes find Heaven, we can rest assured that there is no God. Christians, Jews, Muslims all need educating to the fact that it all started in Palestine, a source of all the world’s problems.

Why is it that on this thread of, I assume, Conservative Party supporters, only Prodicus responds to Baker's suggestion with a policy which would "set the people free"? In other words, a policy in the Conservative tradition

Not so at all. Cranmer supports Muslim schools precisely because it is consistent with Conservative philosophy - ie that Parents may educate their children as they think best. That indeed 'sets the people free', and is the genuinely liberal Conservative policy for education.

"Why is it that on this thread of, I assume, Conservative Party supporters, only Prodicus responds to Baker's suggestion with a policy which would "set the people free"? In other words, a policy in the Conservative tradition"

Well... as that was my very proposal for 100policies, I didn't feel like repeating myself ;-)

Well said, Cranmer.

It seems to me profoundly unconservative to gerrymander school attendance, particularly when religion is involved.

Baker has his moments, every now and again. Who can forget the Dangerous Dogs Act?

Parvez, hang about one second...

"in some areas nearly 100% of the children are from one community or another."

In most areas, most kids are white English.

They are not a "community", they are white English. It doesn't make them any better or worse than non-white or not-so-English, but they are not a "community", they are the indigenous people of this country.

Do Plain Cymru talk about "the Welsh community" or the SNP about "the Scottish community"? No, I thought not.

That said, I live in London E11, where we are all mixed-race, which I personally rather like, but again, maybe that's just me.

Ralph Lucas at 19:04

The wording of Lord Baker's tabled amendment is:

‘After section 72(2) of SSFA [School Standards and Framework Act] 1998 (further provisions relating to new schools) there is inserted –

“(2A) No proposal may be made for a new school which has a religious character to make arrangements in respect of the admission of pupils unless the condition in subsection (2B) is satisfied.

(2B) The condition is that at least 30 per cent of pupils admitted to the school are not practising the religion of the school.”’

You are, I think, quoting from a statement made by the Church of England this week.

I guess any non-Muslims going to a Muslim Faith School will soon lose any taste for pork or bacon or ham sandwiches; and dogs, pigs, will be exotic creatures to be feared; and that girls swimming fully clothed will seem quite natural.

Just how will these Non-Muslim Children integrate into British society ?

"Christina - I doubt whether Lord Baker intends Step 3 to happen - it would be worrying if he did - what will happen is that no non-Muslims (aka "infidels" or "unbelievers") will apply, ergo no State funding, problem solved."

Mark, we have a Labour Government. What Lord Baker intends and what a Labour Government would do, are quite different, IMO. :-)

Yes, I think Baker knows very well that Christians/Atheists/Jews will not want their children to go to Muslim schools and that the Muslims will not want them there anyway.

State funding will end by grudging mutual consent, and we will have shown this particular section of society that they cannot claim "special rights" unavailable to the rest of us.

There will be a backlash of course. The larger problem is probably insoluble.

It's time we all realised that.

Why do I want to scrap faith schools?

As I said above they are divisive. If they have no particular slant then why are they '"faith" schools' instead of just 'schools'. It is the same principle as multiculturalism:

Protestants go over there and learn things from a protestant perspective, Catholics over there, Jews over there, Hindus over there, and Muslims over there learning from a muslim perspective.

Now, if the C of E slant consists only of a hymm in the morning it causes no problem, but in Northern Ireland the protestant and catholic schools helped maintain separate antagonistic communities, and if muslim and hindu schools taught the Kashmir confict from their own slant and taught grievances at the hand of the other it will cause problems.

Why do I "wish to restrict choice and reduce high standards?"

In the interests of assimilation, maintaining (or recreating perhaps, these days) a common national culture, and ending the fragmatation of separate "communities" with their own separate schools, no doubt in their own separate enclaves.

This is another of the daft things which pass for progressiveness today. As most have observed, it wouldn't work without coercion.

Those of us with faith reject totally Sandbagger's offensive remark - "Schools should be secular, to ensure that modern scientific proofs are not diluted by some religious mumbo jumbo". ALL schools follow the national curriculum but it is the general ethos of the school that is so important to Christians. And we certainly do not want our children taught un a school where the faith is described as "mumbo jumbo".

The CoE schools have been sponsored by the Church precisely because Christian parents want their children to be taught in the faith. The fact that (?therefore?) they are better schools makes them popular to non-Christian caring parents too. Why on earth should priority not be given to those for whom the schools were built and run? My church makes some batty pronouncements from time to time and this politically correct suggestion is one of them and - being a batty idea - Cameron has seen a bandwagon to jump on.

A profoundly anti-Conservative statement by Jon Gale. Anti-freedom also.

Apart from the fact that even today this country retains a Christian tradition, all parents should have the right to have their children according to their conscience.

I daresay you'd like to "scrap" all independent schools also on the grounds that they are "divisive".

Sure you're in the right party?

"Schools should be secular, to ensure that modern scientific proofs are not diluted by some religious mumbo jumbo".

Fascinating. It is State schools that are undermining Physics by not teaching it. It is the Independent Schools which are keeping Chemistry, Physics, Maths alive in this country and the proportion of undergraduates educated at such schools is far higher than 7%.

I suggest that these State Schools teach some Science before turning out ignorant morons who are so arrogant as to think that knowledge of the mechanism of electromagnetism or of thermodynamics precludes any faith in a Prime Mover.

It is in fact Biology that most of this political issue turns on and just as The Bell Curve made all the secularists alarmed, so now Biology is being used as a sort of Hegelian Dialectic - yet not so long ago Biology was not even considered "Science" but an occupation for librarians to cataogue species.

I do not see how Physics is incompatible with Christian Faith, nor do many leading scientists.

Good of Adrian Owens to actually quote the legislation (6/10 22.33).

I have now worked out the loophole - the legislation is meaningless and unenforceable.

If a Faith School wants to have state funding AND 100% of people from its own religion, all it needs to do is get 30% of parents to sign up to say they are "not practising the religion of the school", whether they are or are not is virtually impossible to prove one way or antoher.

Say a good C of E school takes on 100% C of E kids, there will be atheist and RC kids in that area who would like to get in but didn't, and we will have fantastic court cases where parents of excluded kids prove that ALL kids at that school are in fact C of E.

C of E schools are not "faith" schools because the C of E is hardly a Church. Neither priest nor parishioner knows any theology nor the XXXIX Articles which are the basis of being an Anglican.

The C of E has barely any role in so-called "C of E " schools and it is just a brand label to appease middle-class parents. In Bradford some CF of E schools are completely Muslim.

Church Schools are simply wrappers on failed comprehensives, and a leftover from the Church as an educator in the case of primary schools.

The only "faith" school which really has no "faith" is a Church of England school - it is a fraudulent exercise

To Mark Wadsworth - yes, that was the wording of his amendment 3 months ago - things have moved on.

To Christina Speight - "all parents should have the right to have their children [educated] according to their conscience." Quite agree - i.e. it should be the parents who choose a faith school, not the faith school that chooses the parents.

To Jin Gale - "Why on earth should priority not be given to those for whom the schools were built and run?" So it should - but 100%? The Lord (if you remember your Don Camillo) was insistent that the children of communists could be baptised; my view is that the same applies to schools - or at least state schools.

"There is indeed such a separation in the United States, codified and formalised in its Constitution..."

Er, sorry, wrong. This may sound like pedantry but I dare you to find the words "separation of church and state" in the US Constitution. That term is actually from a letter by Thomas Jefferson, an ardent OPPONENT of the Constitution during the ratification debates, commenting in part on his contribution to state law on the subject in his native Virginia during his time as governor.

There are two religion clauses in the First Amendment: one forbidding Congress from passing laws "respecting an establishment of religion," and the other barring it from prohibiting "the free exercise thereof". A hypothetical federal statue respecting an establishment of religion could be an establishment of a federal church, but it could also just as equally be federal law DISESTABLISHING a state church: all of the 13 colonies had had their own established churches at some point, and as individual states some still retained them even after ratification of the federal constitution. The last state church in the US to be disestablished was in the Connecticut Constitution of 1808, well after the adoption of the First Amendment at the federal level. Do remember that the federal Bill of Rights was not deemed binding on the states at the time: only by "incorporation" through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment (adopted in 1867) has it been treated as such afterwards.

In fact Dave - your ponts are excellent - it was a Secular Humanist Lesbian who pushed the issue before the Warren Court and this whole Anti-Christian stuff started c. 1962.

Congress begins each day with prayers, as does the Supreme Court.............it is just schools which are forbidden to do so

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