Republicanism, Catholicism and the West: Explaining the Strength of Religious School Aid Prohibitions

41 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 1 Aug 2012

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

In a polarized political climate that sets religion and irreligion in ever more antagonistic opposition, there is heightened pressure on the American state constitutional provisions known as ‘Blaine Amendments’ or ‘No-Aid Provisions’ which were passed between 1835 and 1959 to prohibit public aid to religious schools. Judgements about No-Aid Provisions have largely been made by scholars on an ad hoc basis using narrative-based historical accounts, emotive language and without clear classificatory criteria. Using content analysis this paper constructs the first quantitative scale of No-Aid Provision strength and subjects it to statistical treatment to explain why some prohibitions are much stronger than others. It finds that larger Catholic populations, Republican dominance and Federal Enabling Acts make No-Aid language more strident. In so doing this paper adjudicates between competing explanations for No-Aid Provision strength and undermines the absolutist language of Church/State separation prevalent in American public discourse.

Keywords: Religion, Education, Federalism, Separation of Church and State

Suggested Citation

Hackett, Ursula, Republicanism, Catholicism and the West: Explaining the Strength of Religious School Aid Prohibitions (2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2107999

Ursula Hackett (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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