Is Lousianna's Voucher Program Bad for Religious Freedom
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 38
Like Tree3Likes

Thread: Is Lousianna's Voucher Program Bad for Religious Freedom

  1. #1
    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Debating Away on the Debate Board!
    Posts
    11,771

    Default Is Lousianna's Voucher Program Bad for Religious Freedom

    Jindal’s voucher program called ‘bad for religious freedom’ by Interfaith Alliance - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post
    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is getting new pushback on his school voucher program, which is now the biggest in the country.

    Opposition is coming from the Interfaith Alliance, a national, nonpartisan grassroots and educational organization based in Washington that has 185,000 members nationwide made up of 75 faith traditions as well as those of no faith tradition.

    A letter sent to Jindal on Tuesday signed by the alliance's president, the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, says in part: "Your school voucher scheme is bad for religious freedom and bad for public education as well as a blatant attack on the religious freedom clauses in the United States Constitution."

    The program is a result of a new law that allows the state to offer vouchers to more than half of Louisiana's public school students, and dozens of religious schools have been given permission to accept voucher students even though they have not shown that they have the resources to handle the influx.

    Many of these schools use curriculum that promotes Young Earth Creationism, which holds the belief that the universe is no older than 10,000 years old despite definitive scientific evidence that it is billions of years old. And Jindal is supporting an "accountability" plan that says private schools in the program with fewer than 40 voucher students don't have to show that those students have achieved basic competency in reading, math, social studies and science in order to keep receiving state funds. Some accountability, huh?

    The letter from Gaddy, pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, La., is of special interest because it comes from the faith community.

    Here's the text of the letter:
    August 7, 2012

    The Honorable Bobby Jindal

    Office of the Governor of Louisiana
    P.O. Box 94004
    Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004

    Dear Governor Jindal:
    I write to you as the President of Interfaith Alliance to express my disappointment, concern and indeed, outrage at the school voucher program you have implemented in the state of Louisiana. Not only do I represent this national organization whose members come together from 75 faith traditions and belief systems to protect religious freedom, champion individual rights, and promote policies that protect both religion and democracy, I also serve as Senior Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, and thus, I am one of your constituents. Your school voucher scheme is bad for religious freedom and bad for public education as well as a blatant attack on the religious freedom clauses in the United States Constitution.

    Thankfully, thoughtful educators, concerned citizens, and media representatives in the state are exposing your ruthless attack on public education - the provision that the founders of our nation considered essential to the survival of our democracy. You seem unable to distinguish between religious indoctrination and basic public education. Though Interfaith Alliance is a non-litigious agency, we are encouraging other agencies to file suits challenging your decision to use public tax dollars to build structures for churches across the state and to fund educational curricula that qualify more as a catechism than as a tool for holistic education. Of course, you flaunted your disregard for government-subsidized religion by choosing a Roman Catholic Church as the venue at which to sign your legislation!

    When in 1785 the state of Virginia considered a bill that would fund "Teachers of the Christian Religion," James Madison penned his famous remonstrance reminding his contemporaries, and indeed, generations to come, that "it is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him." Put another way, funding, participating in, and sending our children to religious education programs is the right and responsibility of faith communities, clergy, and parents as they see fit; not of our government. Every American also has an equal right to choose not to fund or participate in religious education.

    Your voucher program also will fund private schools and curricula that are inevitably not up to the standards of quality information of public schools, and fund the teaching of theology, which goes against the fundamentals of our religious freedom. I was appalled to learn that private schools - funded with my taxes - will teach our children that evolution does not exist, using the fabled Loch Ness Monster as a "real" example, from textbooks that state:
    "God created each type of fish, amphibian, and reptile as separate, unique animals. Any similarities that exist among them are due to the fact that one Master Craftsmen fashioned them all."

    Let me be clear: I am not appalled that a Christian school is teaching its students that God created the Earth. Children in my church learn that every Sunday. I am appalled that these schools are teaching theology as science; and they're doing so with government money, my tax dollars. Teaching the theology of Creationism is part of the mission of religious schools, and religious education more broadly- I defend with my life's work their right to teach future generations about their faith. But they should not receive financial support from our government to do so.

    What often gets lost in the conversation around school vouchers is the negative impact they can have on religious schools. In the short term, having new revenue streams is of course helpful to private schools, but the fact is that with government money comes government regulation, which can open religious schools up to all kinds of threats to their autonomy that it is in religion's best interest to avoid. Furthermore, public education is often called the "great equalizer," and right now, our nation is at a place in history in which all of us truly need to learn how to get along with each other and work together for the good of our nation despite our differences in religion, ethnicity, race, and income.

    Besides preparing our children and young people to be proficient in math, science, grammar, thinking, and communication skills, public education has no greater role than enabling us to work and walk together despite obvious diversity. Many of the private schools in Louisiana that you are supporting with millions of dollars of vouchers are honestly saying upfront that their mission is sectarian education that promotes one faith over another and makes no effort to commend the common good.


    Finally, one of the central problems with school voucher programs could not be on clearer display than it is in Louisiana: Vouchers create competition between religious groups for government funds, and put the government in a position to prefer one over another. A case in point is the reason state Rep. Valarie Hodges changed her position on the school voucher program. I wish that I could celebrate this move, and had she decided to no longer support it because she realized how harmful such funding is to our religious freedom, I would have. Instead, she changed her position on vouchers because she found out that not only Christian groups received the funding, but Muslim groups can too. As a former Hindu - a minority religion in this nation - you, as much as anyone in our state, should be fully aware that herein lies one of the many problems with funneling government money to religious groups. By doing so, the government can (or at least can try) to pick and choose between them -- exactly the situation our founders created the First Amendment to avoid.

    In short, the school vouchers system you have allowed to be implemented in our state embodies everything that is wrong with school vouchers as a whole and threatens the integrity of both religion and government. I hope that you will take a step back and see that what you are doing is propelling education in Louisiana back to a level that will decrease even more our abominable ranking when it comes to education in our nation. You are hurting the state, the education of our children, and broadsiding an affront to the values of religious freedom that most of us hold dear.

    I am incapable of and uninterested in judging your motivations for such a destruction of education in our state. But, you are capable of changing your mind and helping the situation rather than hurting it. Governor Jindal, please, for the sake of all that is good about education, religious freedom, and our state, put an end to the school vouchers program in Louisiana.

    Sincerely,
    C. Welton Gaddy
    Bolding is mine.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Alissa_Sal; 08-12-2012 at 03:32 PM.
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

    Got an opinion? We've got a board! Come join us for some lively debate on the Face Off! Debate Arena board.

  2. #2
    Mega Poster mom3girls's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    3,381

    Default

    I do not see it as an attack on freedom of religion. No one is forcing parents to choose religious schooling, the voucher system just give the parents the financial backing to choose what kind of education they would like their child to receive. I am a big fan of the voucher system in general though so I may not be able to look at the other side with an unbiased opinion
    Lisa
    Molly, Morgan, Mia and Carson

  3. #3
    Community Host
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    13,390

    Default

    I do not see how this is an attack on religious freedom. It already is, that if you accept federal financial aid, you then have to adhere to certain federal standards. Take for example the college that I went to (Tennessee Temple University), they except financial aid for their students even though they are a private Christian University. They in turn, have to meat Government standards for a college education. Then take for example other Christian colleges such as Bob Jones University or Pensacola College. They receive no federal funds at all, so they have more freedom to do things as they please. If a school were to choose to accept the voucher, they would have to do so with the knowledge that it gave the government more control in their decision making. If that was something that the private school did not want, then they would just not accept the vouchers. It already is this way in if a school with accept federal money or not.

    ~Bonita~

  4. #4
    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    7,534

    Default

    Many of these schools use curriculum that promotes Young Earth Creationism, which holds the belief that the universe is no older than 10,000 years old despite definitive scientific evidence that it is billions of years old.
    This is making an assumption that there is no scientific proof to support a young earth when that is not the case.

    Age of the earth
    Mom to Lee, Jake, Brandon, Rocco
    Stepmom to Ryan, Regan, Braden, Baley
    Granddaughters Kylie 10/18/2010 & Aleya 4/22/2013


    I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosopy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend. --Thomas Jefferson

  5. #5
    Community Host wlillie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    6,469

    Default

    Actually, from what I understand, the vouchers are Louisiana money and they aren't going to be asking the schools to do anything different. I think it's silly to pretend like this has anything to do with freedom of religion. They want it to be freedom from religion. It's hypocritical IMO. The vouchers are brilliant and it's honestly stupid to pretend like Louisiana could drop any lower than it already has. Private schooling is the only way to go down here IMO. I'm actually kinda pissed my sister chose public for my niece despite it being one of the best public schools in the state.

  6. #6
    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Debating Away on the Debate Board!
    Posts
    11,771

    Default

    Gloria, if we're going to debate the age of the earth, let's do a spin off.

    The problem I have with vouchers is two-fold - one, they funnel money away from public schools that desperately need them (if your public schools suck, taking money away from them will NOT solve the problem) and two, I am fine with anyone choosing to send their kids to private school, but I feel they should do it on their own dime. The whole point of private schools is that since they don't take public money, they can do what they want. Funneling public money into private schools in essence makes them public schools, and therefore they need to abide by the first amendment which says that they can't teach religious dogma because that would mean a public school is favoring one religion over another. I think the voucher program is just a sneaky way to try to have your cake and eat it too. Either send your kids to public school and let's all work on making them better, or send your kids to private school, but don't ask me to pay for it.
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

    Got an opinion? We've got a board! Come join us for some lively debate on the Face Off! Debate Arena board.

  7. #7
    Community Host
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    13,390

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alissa_Sal View Post
    Gloria, if we're going to debate the age of the earth, let's do a spin off.

    The problem I have with vouchers is two-fold - one, they funnel money away from public schools that desperately need them (if your public schools suck, taking money away from them will NOT solve the problem) and two, I am fine with anyone choosing to send their kids to private school, but I feel they should do it on their own dime. The whole point of private schools is that since they don't take public money, they can do what they want. Funneling public money into private schools in essence makes them public schools, and therefore they need to abide by the first amendment which says that they can't teach religious dogma because that would mean a public school is favoring one religion over another. I think the voucher program is just a sneaky way to try to have your cake and eat it too. Either send your kids to public school and let's all work on making them better, or send your kids to private school, but don't ask me to pay for it.
    I see where you are going. At the same time, it is frustrating to have to pay for schools that you think are terrible and you know you will never use.

    ~Bonita~

  8. #8
    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    7,534

    Default

    So it is not a problem for Christian parents to have to pay for public schools that favor Atheistic theories which cannot be proven, but it is a problem for those same parents to get vouchers to send their kids to schools that teach something else? Public schools absolutely favor evolutionary theories which cannot be proven. In fact in some cases they teach things that are blatently false.
    (Google Haeckel’s drawings which were included in textbooks until just a very few years ago which were proven false over 100 years ago.
    CSC - What do Modern Textbooks Really Say about Haeckel's Embryos?)
    Yet we are required to subsidize these students. Even if parents get vouchers for the time their kids are actually attending school they are still paying taxes that support public schools all the years before and after their kids are in school.
    Mom to Lee, Jake, Brandon, Rocco
    Stepmom to Ryan, Regan, Braden, Baley
    Granddaughters Kylie 10/18/2010 & Aleya 4/22/2013


    I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosopy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend. --Thomas Jefferson

  9. #9
    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Debating Away on the Debate Board!
    Posts
    11,771

    Default

    Evolution is not an "atheistic" theory. The theory of evolution does not (and cannot) address the question about whether or not a god exists, and plenty of religious people (including Christians) embrace evolution as a valid scientific theory. It's disingenuous to compare teaching a scientific theory (which again, offers zero commentary on the existence of a divine being) in a science class to teaching religious dogma in public schools. The point of having public schools is to offer schooling to everyone regardless of creed or religion or SES, giving everyone equal access to education. You may prefer a school that teaches only your exact belief system, and that is your right, but again, you can go ahead and pay for that yourself. The rest of us should have the ability to send our children to quality public schools where they can get a general education and interact with people from all different belief systems. Again, if your public schools are falling down in that area, defunding them won't solve the problem.
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

    Got an opinion? We've got a board! Come join us for some lively debate on the Face Off! Debate Arena board.

  10. #10
    Community Host wlillie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    6,469

    Default

    actually, it saves them money. From what I understand they pay out around 3500 a year per child for the voucher system and the "cost" of one student in a public school is over 6,000. So again, brilliant.

    eta-OH! and it's not middle class or rich kids getting the vouchers. You have to be at least 250% below poverty level to receive a voucher. So basically those that are high risk anyway.
    Last edited by wlillie; 08-13-2012 at 02:30 PM.

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
v -->

About Us | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Sitemap | Terms & Conditions