The Religious Right is aggressively working nationwide to secure taxpayer money, that is, public funds, for religious education.
Public schools will suffer if the U.S. Congress passes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Write your Congressional representatives expressing opposition to the theocratic onslaught against our secular form of government. It’s not only Federal politicians, pressured by religious interests to fund their superstitions, who are constructing Trojan floats to parade into public schools. In Wisconsin and several other states, vouchers are advanced to undermine public (non-religious) anti-science education. The effect is to validate support for Catholic and other Christian sects that blend dogma with science to inculcate faith-based thinking. This is done with monies from all taxpayers, not just those who embrace irrational dogmas.
The Christian voucher movement is both expensive and unconstitutional. According to Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor, “The proposal in the (WI) state budget will set up two publicly supported statewide school systems, one of which will not be accountable to the public and whose primary purpose is largely to proselytize students.” According to the state Department of Public Instruction, aid for 55% of WI school districts for the coming school year will decrease, due to this program to aid religions.
That level of cuts affects 234 out of the state’s 424 public school districts. An existing cap of 1,000 student max for statewide vouchers is being removed gradually until, after ten years, there will be no cap. Welcome to the holy land.
Ms. Gaylor termed this action “a barefaced handout to parents seeking public dollars to pay for their children’s parochial schools.”
Children across the land may soon return to school districts that are underfunded because of actions by religious right extremists in Congress and in many “Red” states that fund private religious schools with everyone’s taxes.
FFRF, the American Humanist Association, the National Coalition for Public Education, the Secular Coalition for America and other groups supporting church/state separation are leading efforts to defeat the voucher movement. I have no doubt the award-winning Perry Street Palace also supports efforts to defeat this creeping theocracy. Please contact your Representative and Senators. Ask that they protect the separation of church and state. Ask that they oppose vouchers.
There is no question but that vouchers defund cash-strapped public schools to support private religious schools. This is a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars for religious instruction. Religious schools discriminate against teachers and students on the basis of religious belief and/or other factors.
This is a wellness issue affecting our personal liberties and the form of government we will have for years to come. Don’t stand by while taxpayer money goes to religious institutions. Do what you can to prevent government funding of private religious education.
Never forget what it was like when religions controlled what could be taught, said and believed. In a speech in the 19th century entitled, “Individuality,” the Great Agnostic Rbert Green Ingersoll said:
All the machinery of the church is constantly employed in corrupting the reason of children. In every possible way that are robbed of their own thoughts and forced to accept the statements of others. Every Sunday school has for its object the crushing out of every germ of individuality. The poor children are taught that nothing could be more acceptable to God than unreasoning obedience and eyeless faith, and that to believe God did an impossible act is far better than to do a good one yourself.
Do those of us who are not enamored of this kind of education want to pay for it? I don’t and I hope you don’t, either.