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What the Devil won't tell you

Church of Blake wants a piece of Az's school voucher action

Supreme Alpha Dog demands state funds, no accountability, to preach gospel some might find offensive

Alright then Arizona lawmakers, y'all are fast-tracking a bill to give taxpayer money to religious schools. Well, I've got a church and I will teach those little ragamuffins all they need to know.

At least I say I will; the Legislature is moving on a second part of the package to keep student achievement in those subsidized schools secret.

Awesome.

It's not like you can prove I've failed to provide a quality product. Were I to run a Mexican restaurant, patrons would know after their first forkful that I know nothing about making a chimichanga other than you deep fry a tortilla filled with … stuff. They would want heir money back. Kids can figure out their school experience sucked after their first semester of college. Then their parents would know they shouldn't have sent them there.

So how can Blakeism make taxpayer dollars with no accountability work for me (I mean my church) as I spread a vision some may find morally repugnant? Stick it to the suckers. That's how.

What the new plan would do is much better and much more wholesome. I can give the kids the righteous and moral education they don't get in public schools by teaching them The Scriptures.

Oh. Wait. I know what you are thinking. Not those Scriptures. No. I'm talking about Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry's voluminous memos as interpreted by me through visions.

So, I'm going to teach children to defy our immigration laws. It's every Blakeist's duty to assist undocumented migrants in evading the Customs and Boarder Protection agents as well as pesky investigators from Immigration and Customs Enforcement because it is a deeply held religious belief of the Church of Blake.

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And I want, nay, demand taxpayer money to spread my Gospel.

The Church of Blake does respect other religions and views Jesus as an appropriate prophet toiling in the filth of humanity to vindicate us of our sins. So every child will be required to render portraits of Jesus submerged in a bodily fluid to properly revere him. "Piss Christ" is a good start but we can do better.

And I want, nay, demand taxpayer money to help afford the jars and renderings.

What's that? I'm just being offensive or offensiveness sake and can't just start a religion that offends? Maybe you aren't familiar with the history of Western civilization. Or maybe you forgot about the Church of Satan.

Blakeism is about respect and obedience to authority, namely the Church's Supreme Alpha Dog, who just happens to be me. And as such, I tithe half of all church proceeds to the Sacred Mutual Fund and Expense Account of the Supreme Alpha Dog. What? You are going to argue my religious doctrine is illegal? Some bureaucrat is going to define for me what isn't and isn't the practice of dogma?

I got the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment, snowflake. What do you got? The oft-vanquished legal argument that America is a Christian country?

So I want, nay, demand your hard-earned taxpayer dollars to help the Blakeism fruitfully thrive and multiply.

Here at the Church of Blake, we're going to teach weapons-grade liberalism: microaggressions, cultural appropriation, moral relativism, gun confiscation, climate change (the kind caused by cattle), matriarchy over patriarchy, "animal partners (née "pets'") and progressive taxation of Wall Street bankers beyond 100 percent. Hillary Clinton will be sanctified. Barack Hussein Obama will be venerated. Saul Alinsky? Who do you think kids are going to say the pledge to?

Oh, I can't get people to worship a religion you say I just made up. Have you ever heard of L. Ron Hubbard? If Scientology gets taxpayer money to teach about the Exploded Souls, I get taxpayer money to teach the imploded pancreas.

I should be at least as eligible as Saudi-backed Wahhabists are to cash in on voucher money to teach a rather 'roided-up version of Islam (and the anti-Americanism that has justified to acts of terrorism)?

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The Church of Blake is coming to a school near you and it wants your money stolen by the government from you deposited into my bank accounts. I can teach my followers how the quadratic equation makes me holy and why the Free Exercise Clause means I should get rich.

Hold on. That sounds like a lot of work … and a lot of flesh pressing and … maybe not.

Maybe I won't do what I would be free to do. I could. Your establishing of religion can''t stop me from the free exercising mine. To understand that means you are getting the real problem with the legislation sponsored by state Sen. Debbie Lesko, a Republican who plays for Peoria.

No more affordable or accessible

There's a lot not to like or even scratch your head over concerning the Legislature's foray into “improving school choice” but right off the bat I can tell you it won't work.

The idea is to just give every student $5,300 to choose a school. They can keep going to their neighborhood public school or take it to a private school. If the state gave each of us $100 to buy peanut butter – and only peanut butter – peanut butter would just cost $100 more. See “supply.” Cross reference with “demand.”

You can't make some bench-warming basketball player better by just giving everyone in the NBA 10 points to start each game. The scrub will average 10.3 points per game. Kevin Durant will average 40.

It's first-day-of-class economics. The only people helped, once the market adjusts, are the kids parents who can afford St. Gregory College Preparatory today and get $5,300 off their bill for the $16,000 tuition cost.

Also, an amendment offered by state Sen. David Bradley (D-Tucson) to require private schools take all who apply got voted down. So the private schools can remain just as exclusive as they are today.

The law won't change much for students. If Lesko structured the bill so that every student in a “failing” public school were eligible for the voucher, that would be a much different story.

Aside from zero increase in accessibility and no help in affordability, the bill is a real landmark.

The freedom to offend

The real problem is the one no one is really talking about and it's as old as the republic. The state shouldn't spend money on religion. It's too damn dangerous to religion.

The truth is I don't look at the whole church and state thing as a matter of political correctness. To me, it's just dangerous to religion. The government can't be in the business of verifying religious doctrine as righteous. The Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution prohibits the government from deciding how religion is practiced and the Establishment Clause proscribes the government from reaching theological conclusions.

In a 1970 Supreme Court case Walz v. Tax Commission of New York, justices applied the John Mashall axiom “the power to tax is the power to destroy” to prevent the government from taxing churches. Amen to that. So I say the power to subsidize is the power to coerce.

Religion should be as free to be as radical, offensive and off-the-grid as it chooses. It should be free to not conform to the contemporary wisdom. Creationists, misogynists, conscientious objectors and social justice advocates should be free to practice without the government deciding which denomination is acceptable.

Just 15 years ago, the Catholics and Presbyterians in Ireland agreed to stop killing each other. Muslims today are divided up between the Shia and the Sunni. The difference between the two is rooted in who was allowed to be the caliph (Islam's supreme leader): is that limited to descendants of Mohammad or is it open to others? It's worth pointing out that there is no recognized “caliph” anymore but the killing continues.

Certain Christian extremists still see the Jews as the biggest enemy to freedom and the word “papist” as a derogatory term for “Catholic” has only fallen out of use during the last couple centuries.

The Stars and Bars span the “Confederate flag” diagonally as to not too closely resemble a cross that would have irritated Jews. Yes, the battle flag of Virginia was politically correct.

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All of this is a reminder that government would do best to just stay far, far away from entangling itself in religion and religion would be wise to avoid state money.

You, dear reader, can tell me Blakeism is B.S. The last people I want telling me so are the duly elected representatives of government.

Blake Morlock covered Arizona government and politics for 15 years, including 11 in the Tucson Citizen. He also worked on Democratic Party campaigns in the field of political communications. Now he’s telling you things that the Devil won’t.


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2 comments on this story

2
2 comments
Feb 15, 2017, 2:40 pm
-0 +1

Education only for the wealthy. How American! As far as giving my tax dollars to a religious school? Just as soon as they start paying taxes.

1
10 comments
Feb 13, 2017, 8:57 pm
-0 +3

A two-class system of education, funded by tax dollars, has been the goal of the far right since the 1980s with the intent to privatize public education by the Edison group who brought in computers and promised to raise test scores, etc. That failed. At the same time vouchers raised its ugly head and was “fought” off for a few years, but gained momentum as Koch brothers and others started “buying” politicians to do their bidding and started infiltrating colleges and universities in order to control their curricula.
                                                        Arizona is right in the middle of this movement since Governor Slime-ington started cutting public education funds. In fact, from 2008-2016, the AZ State Legislature and Governors cut funding for Public Schools by 36.6%.  Our current Governor and Legislature stole over $300 million from a voters’ initiative to increase taxes for public schools.  The AZ Supreme Court ordered the State to put the money back.  It has yet to be done.  In fact the Governor added two more seats to the Bench and filled it with justices that will not support the Court’s decision in this matter.When I started teaching in 1967, Arizona ranked around 33 when compared to the other states’ funding per pupil for education.  AZ now ranks 48/50.
                                                                    Vouchers steal public school funds so that wealthier families get to use tax dollars to send their children to private or religious schools which are not held to the same standards as public schools and do not have to enroll ALL students. Families with less financial freedom don’t have the resources to pay the balance of tuitions beyond the voucher or to provide transportation to those same schools. It’s a smoke and mirror method of segregating schools. The rich go to schools where they can network with other families of wealth and learn how to increase their wealth, while the children of those families at the lower end of the economic scales learn just enough to become the worker bees. For many of these children, their only hope of affording higher education is to risk their lives by joining the military.

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Blake's got some redecorating plans in mind.