Virginia Attorney General and gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli II (R) (you know, the one who tried to ban oral and anal sex and claimed the move wasn't homophobic) is now pushing for his state to allow public funding for religious schools.
Though the Republican Party is known to conflate church and state in its arguments against issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, Cuccinelli's proposal that Virginia should redirect taxpayer money from public education to parochial school vouchers might be a new low.
Cuccinelli tried to argue the separation of church and state provisions in Virginia's constitution merely aim to combat anti-Catholic bigotry.
Virginia has provisions in its constitution that explicitly bar government aid to “sectarian” schools or institutions, including the so-called Blaine Amendment. The Blaine Amendment was passed as a result of anti-Catholic bigotry in American politics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, which made clear that the federal Constitution permits aid through school choice programs, Virginia’s Blaine Amendment restricts the ability to enact broad-based school choice programs. A state constitutional amendment is needed that is narrowly drafted to allow for school choice programs that do not restrict parents’ choices about what is best for each of their children.
No big deal that one of our nation's founding ideals is keeping each institution's influence apart from the other in order to preserve freedom in both spheres. It's whatever.