Idaho County dot com Logo

Prepared by Joshua Palken (4-3-2024) 

So a sincere local citizen posted some comments here in support of charter schools which really have a serious problem that has to be pointed out.  He starts with the very agreeable concept, that “If our schools today reflected the intentions of those who came to America to start a new life and those who founded our government… America would still be a great nation…”

I agree. If we could restore the steely character and resolve of our Founding Fathers that would be extraordinary. However, he goes on to state that: “God was at the center of learning… and that “God was always part of the process.”

Is this correct?  I suspect it’s not so simple. There is now an entire body of academic study and research that addresses this very question. I won’t go into that here because it is not my central rebuttal. However, if you google “were the founding fathers evangelists?” you will see for yourself. Make of it what you will, but my impression of the Founding Fathers is that they were Godly in the sense of advocating a moral life consistent with Scripture, but that their daily lives were focused on honest hard work to the best of their abilities, and not so much to active evangelism. They were educated men – of many books, not just (the) one….

Just take a look at this statement: “The Founding Fathers were a group of remarkable, intelligent men that ultimately changed the course of American Constitutional History. Many of them were authors and orators, some even founded libraries, most importantly, they loved to read.” Of course the Bible is high on the list, but their interests also included classics and serious academic works of science, history and philosophy. How many of us can say this? I venture not many… See list at


The US Constitution prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” I believe that every American Conservative must support and defend the Constitution and therefore we cannot have public religious schools – period. If a citizen wants God in their school they have two choices: home school or private. That is what the Founders decided because to do otherwise would endanger the rights and freedoms of its citizens. 

The “separation” of church and state has a complex history which cannot be recounted here. Some openly advocated for a union between church and state. However, our founding fathers did not. Certainly the Framers practiced religion and believed in its importance and influence on the culture of America. But they opposed a system in which the government was able to tell us what to believe.

The US Supreme Court has carved out some exceptions under the Establishment Clause.  


Now should we add a religious element to charter schools when there is already big issues with funding charter schools at all? 

This is a slippery slope approach which will result on more division and litigation on school funding and is a political “end run” on the Constitution. How so? Take a look at Oklahoma right now. They have the same Constitutional prohibitions as Idaho (and of course the USA) but the State Charter Schools Board voted to approve a Catholic charter school. Now they are in Court. So one day we have a public Catholic school – now we have to fund a Protestant, a Jewish, and a Hindu, etc public school too? 

Here’s an article:

Think that is far fetched? The Supreme Court has already ruled that the state is not required to fund private schools, but if they do then all private schools are eligible. So if public or charter schools are permitted to teach Christianity, then the other religions will also get funding. Here is a good summary analysis of the law if you care to read it:

IMO there should be more flexibility in the law to permit expressions of religious principles in public (principles, not practices), but not schools based on religion. After all, the entire west is based in large part on Judeo-Christian principles and both world and US history cannot be taught without many references to religion. These topics should be studied and taught in public schools. 

That said, our public schools appear to have “thrown out the baby with the bath water” and avoided such important teaching, although it is entirely legal. Bottom line is that teaching about religion is not the same as teaching religion. Here is an article with an interesting discussion on this topic:,%E2%80%9CBible%20as%20literature%E2%80%9D%20classes.

Every public school should include these critical topics which in fact guided our Founding Fathers. However, Alexander Hamilton said “If it be asked, what is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, an inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws.

And in this regard the Idaho Constitution is even MORE specific and restrictive than the US Constitution:

Article IX Section 5. SECTARIAN APPROPRIATIONS PROHIBITED. Neither the legislature nor any county, city, town, township, school district, or other public corporation, shall ever make any appropriation, or pay from any public fund or moneys whatever, anything in aid of any church or sectarian or religious society, or for any sectarian or religious purpose, or to help support or sustain any school, academy, seminary, college, university or other literary or scientific institution, controlled by any church, sectarian or religious denomination whatsoever

Can this be any clearer?  If you support and defend the US and Idaho Constitutions you cannot advocate for religion (God) in public schools – and this includes Charters. And it answers the question: Our Founding Fathers – Would they support God in Schools? NO. We know they would not because they expressly did not.

If the guiding motivation and idea for CHARTER SCHOOLS is to “go back” to a God centered education, that is simply wrong. If any charter school proposes this it’s application will be rejected. If any charter school does this, it will be shut down by the State of Idaho. Trying to recreate the 18th century schoolhouse is not going to happen in our modern society. If you want that you need home school or become Amish… and FWIW the Amish are very disciplined, hard workers who incorporate Jesus teachings into the very fabric of their lives…

So ask yourself:   Would it not be better to stop trying to undermine the public schools that serve 90% of all Idaho K-12 students? Instead let’s DUMP DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and bring back or reemphasize the study of morals, philosophy, civics, ethics, religion and history in our public schools…

Verified by MonsterInsights