WASHINGTON, D.C., June 30, 2020—Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, commended today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case, stating it is “consistent with long-held American principles.”
“The Supreme Court made the right decision today,” Moore said. “These scholarships were not a funding of religion, nor an entanglement of the state with the church. The issue here is whether a state-established scholarship program for private schools could discriminate against parents who chose to send their children to private schools that happen to be religious. This ruling is consistent with long-held American principles, reaffirmed in recent years in cases such as Trinity Lutheran. Blaine Amendments have not advanced the cause of keeping distinction between the church and the state, but instead have resulted in often arbitrary and incoherent policies that are needlessly discriminatory. As a Baptist committed to a free church in a free state, and to the separation of church and state, I believe this ruling maintains those right freedoms and boundaries. The Supreme Court should be commended for this decision.”
In September 2019, the ERLC filed an amicus brief in this case along with Christian Legal Society, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Union of Orthodox Synagogues in North America, National Association of Evangelicals and several others, to assert that students should not lose equal access to the public square because their families chose religious schools. The ERLC advocated for the Supreme Court to strike down Montana’s anti-religious Blaine Amendment and further expand the Court’s protection of religious freedom.
The ERLC will continue to defend the fundamental right of religious liberty in the public square.