“On a Greased Slide to the Supreme Court”
St. Isidore, early medieval Bishop of Seville, is venerated as a doctor of the church for writing extracts from ancient literature that preserved classical wisdom. For this reason, Pope John Paul II established St. Isidore as the patron saint of internet users. In the 21st century, because of a dramatic development in Oklahoma on Monday, St. Isidore is now almost certainly destined to also become known as the name of a major, future U.S. Supreme Court opinion.
This is because Oklahoma has become the first state in the union to explicitly approve a religious charter school, the St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School, to be run by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma and Diocese of Tulsa. Until now, private religious schools have been eligible to participate in some publicly funded programs – Hasidic schools in New York receive some public funds while charging tuition, for example – but St. Isidore will be the first religious charter school fully paid for by taxpayers.
No sooner did an Oklahoma state board approve St. Isidore for funding than the Americans United for Separation of Church and State signaled it was preparing a lawsuit.
“This case is on a greased slide toward the Supreme Court,” said Gene Schaerr, Protect The 1st general counsel. “It will establish once and for all whether religious schools can be lawfully excluded from charter funding. Recent Court reasoning, from Trinity Lutheran v. Comer to Carson v. Makin, strongly suggests that discrimination against religious charter schools will soon be relegated to the proverbial ash heap of history.”