Saturday, February 04, 2012

"Religion, Public Money Should Stay Separate"

by Edd Doerr

This letter was published in Education Week on Feb 1, 2012 ---

"In upholding Indiana's school voucher plan ("Indiana Grapples With Impact of Voucher Law," Jan 11, 2012) Marion [County] Superior Court Judge Michael J. Keele seems to have overlooked Article I, Sections 4 and 6 of the state constitution, which state, respectively, that "no person shall be compelled to . . . maintain any ministry against his consent", and that "no money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." The vast majority of private schools receiving the voucher funds are pervasively religious institutions, part of a church's "ministry".

"Indiana's Republican governor and legislature, in imposing the voucher plan by law instead of amending the state constitution to do so, which would have required ratification by the voters, chose to thumb their noses at the people and the constitution of the state. They were doubtless aware that millions of voters in 26 statewide referendums have rejected vouchers or their variants by an average margin of 2 to 1, three times in neighboring Michigan.

"Indiana's voucher plan is an illegitimate, undemocratic attack on public education and on the religious freedom principles enshrined in the state constitution. As a former public school teacher in Indiana (history and government), I am embarrassed by these Hoosier solons.

"Edd Doerr, President, Americans for Religious Liberty, Silver Spring, Md"

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