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

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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.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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