Ever since the 2016 Presidential campaign, many Never Trumpers have decried President Trump’s “unorthodox” approach to faith. However, his administration has made (dare I say) “huuge” strides in religious freedom. The Education Secretary Betsy DeVos who said the government would no longer enforce a federal law prohibiting religious organizations from partnering with private schools to provide federally funded “equitable services.”

Equitable services include activities such as tutoring, mentoring and professional development classes. How did we get to the point where services were filtered through the lens of faith?

In 1965, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was interpreted to require school districts must provide comparable services to educationally disadvantaged privately as well as publicly schooled students. However, the government soon said that none of that money could directly be delivered to private schools. Instead, local districts had to either provide the services or contract them out. “As implemented, federal law dictated that religious organizations were summarily barred from working as contractors with private schools,” write Frederick M. Hess and Brendan Bell of the American Enterprise Institute, “even when well suited for the work.”

These restrictions weren’t put in place because of the oh-so-discussed-but-misunderstood “separation of church and state.” These religious organizations were not tutoring using the Great Commission as a written text. The mentoring classes were not attempting to make the students more like Jesus. The math education classes weren’t focused on adding or subtracting the various Ten Commandments. In fact, no evangelism was occurring at all, yet the government continued to discriminate against these providers based solely on their religious affiliation.

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About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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