A state court in Florida has determined that the state can finance a Christian ministry that provides biblically based rehabilitation services because the program has a secular objective, namely rehabilitation, and no one is compelled to participate in the program. A federal court has ruled that Ken Ham’s Arc Encounter theme park is entitled to a tax incentive because even though the park is intended to promote a religious message, the tax dollars will serve the secular objective of promoting tourism, and no one is compelled to visit the theme park.
These rulings by wise and learned judges have demonstrated how we can achieve important secular objectives while at the same time avoiding discrimination against the religious. I believe the teachings of these rulings should be widely applied, to the betterment of our society. Here are some ways in which we can do this.
Couples classes that rely on biblical principles should be funded by the state because they have the secular purpose of preserving families—provided, of course, attendance is not compulsory.
Monasteries should be funded by the state because they have the secular purpose of providing training in useful skills, such as baking bread, making cheese, brewing beer, and so forth—provided, of course, that no one is compelled to become a monk.
Teachers in parochial schools should have their salaries paid by the state because doing so would serve the secular purposes of promoting full employment and ensuring quality education—provided, of course, no one is compelled to attend a parochial school.
Religious television programs should be funded by the state because doing so serves the secular purpose of providing entertainment (no one can deny the comedic value of The 700 Club, for example)—provided, of course, no one is compelled to watch the programs.
Churches, mosques, synagogues, and other places of worship should be funded by the state because doing so serves the secular purpose of preserving cultural heritage—provided, of course, no one is compelled to attend worship services.
Oh, of course, there may be a few atheist bullies who would object to state funding of these worthwhile programs and initiatives, but that’s simply because of their blind hatred of the religious and because they have “nothing better to do.” (See the insightful piece by the Becket Fund on the true motivations of atheists who disingenuously protest so-called “constitutional” violations.) Fortunately, we can count on the judiciary to make sure the horribly persecuted religious don’t suffer from invidious discrimination.