The Christian Right Finally Wins a Skirmish in a 45-Year War

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The rise of the Christian right wasn’t originally driven by opposition to abortion. It was about state funding of private, Christian, white-only schools. Nearly a half century later, they finally won a measure of victory:

The Supreme Court struck down a Montana constitutional provision banning state aid to parochial schools, ruling that states cannot exclude religious institutions from programs benefiting nonsectarian private schools.

“Montana’s no-aid provision bars religious schools from public benefits solely because of the religious character of the schools,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. That runs afoul of the First Amendment’s protection for free exercise of religion, he wrote, joined by fellow conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

This is just another example of how long it takes to produce real change. This ruling was 45 years in the making, and even at that it’s only a partial victory. Likewise, bans on abortion are still hit-or-miss state level affairs after 40 years, and public opinion is not much different than it was in 1980.

This is your occasional reminder that cultural change takes a very long time, and the deeper the change the longer the time it takes. We should expect nothing different from the BLM protests that started a month ago. If you aren’t prepared for a decades-long battle, just go home and work on something else. Because that’s the kind of stamina it will take to make a real difference.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate