Supporters of public education hold up signs during a rally March 19, 2013, at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis. Opponents of a proposal to expand Indiana's private school voucher program rallied at the Statehouse to make their case that the vouchers hurt traditional public schools. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings; caption amended by RNS)

Private school vouchers are a threat to religious freedom

(RNS) — In his newly released federal budget, President Trump calls for funneling $1 billion in taxpayer funds into private school voucher programs. It’s a bad idea for several reasons.

First, public money should fund public schools, which serve 90 percent of American students. Public schools are a unifying factor in our diverse country and their doors are open to all students, regardless of their religion. Private schools, however, serve only a few, select students.

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Vouchers also don’t work. Numerous studies have shown that students attending private schools with vouchers don’t do better academically — and sometimes do worse — than their peers. Voucher programs also often fund unaccredited, poor-quality schools that take in a lot of taxpayer money but offer little education in return. In some cases, voucher schools — most frequently it is the lowest-quality schools — are almost entirely funded by taxpayer-funded vouchers.

Photo by Denise Johnson/Unsplash/Creative Commons


 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Private schools that accept vouchers also don’t provide the same civil rights protections that public schools are required to provide. As a result, voucher programs systematically exclude students with disabilities and voucher schools frequently teach anti-LGBTQ curriculum and have anti-LGBTQ admission policies. This discrimination is paid for with taxpayer dollars.

All of this is bad enough, but vouchers, at their core, violate religious freedom. Vouchers primarily fund private religious schools. That means they take taxpayer money collected from everyone and use it to pay for the religious education of a few. No one should be compelled to fund the religious education of another.

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Houses of worship often see religious education as an extension of their ministry. Private religious schools, therefore, exist to teach and promote the faith of the houses of worship and religious denominations that sponsor them. That’s OK when a house of worship is funding the school with its own money, but with vouchers, the government forces all of us to chip in. And that’s just wrong.

Religious private schools that accept vouchers can often discriminate in admission and hiring. A student can be refused admission for being the “wrong” religion, for dissenting from a church tenet, for coming out as LGBTQ or for any number of things that violate the school’s religion-based rules. A teacher can be fired for being a single mother, marrying a same-sex partner or getting a divorce. No school should be allowed to make religious admission and hiring decisions using taxpayer-funded vouchers.

Students work together on a computer. Photo by John Schnobrich/Unsplash/Creative Commons


 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

But vouchers don’t just threaten the religious liberty of the taxpayer. Vouchers also threaten the religious freedom of religious schools. By accepting taxpayer dollars they risk becoming mired in political debates and unwanted government oversight.

A 2017 study showed that vouchers are also a threat to houses of worship. Vouchers are now a dominant source of funding for many churches. While vouchers may lead to an increase in funding for the religious schools, they can spark a decline in donations. This often diminishes the church’s other religious activities. By becoming dependent on state funding, houses of worship could lose their integrity and religious identity.

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Trump’s plan violates America’s great tradition of religious freedom, a tradition that gives all of us the right to support only the religion of our choosing (or the right to support none at all). For the sake of true freedom, the American people should tell Congress to reject this billion-dollar mistake.

(Maggie Garrett is legislative director for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The views expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.)

Comments

  1. The most cretinous and corrupt platform conservatives have these days is the campaign against public education. It is nothing less than the diversion of public money to political cronies at the expense of the public and the duty of the government to provide for an adequately educated populous.

    “School choice” is a steaming load of crap of a term. There is no actual choice involved if one is literally destroying public education to support the “alternative choice”. The poor are still shunted off into inadequate schools, but this time there is even far less oversight or legal recourse for parents.

  2. Once we wade past “cretinous”, “corrupt”, and “crap”, all we’re left with is another unsupported assessment of what you like and do not like on a topic.

    The primary duty to educate children is with the parents.

  3. Nope, feel free to be insulted. You have nothing of value to say in response. Run along Bob, adults are trying to have a conversation.

    Attacking public education is the act of people who want an uninformed compliant population and state sponsored religious indoctrination. Your God doesn’t need my cash.

    “The primary duty to educate children is with the parents.”

    They do that by sending their children to school while they support their families by working.

  4. Like most stuff from these folks it is pure unadulterated bull

  5. Oh please. These stale moldy virus-filled libbie NEA talking-points, were already DOA on the odious day they were conceived (in an unholy fit of hallucinogenic ingestions.)

    No use pretending this fanatical opposition to vouchers is about “religious freedom.” Somebody’s just scared of competition.

    What happens when a K-8 or K-12 charter school by Black Christians gets a rep for turning out smart, hardworking, respectful, Three-R’s, high-self-esteem, advanced college-prep kids? Then the Non-Christians ask if **their** kids can join. The White and Latino families knock on the door.

    People of all beliefs want rigorous & academic mastery while training the kids to say Yes Ma’am and Yes Sir.

    Vouchers mean that that the poor kids and the write-off kids, get just as good a shot at the high-end universities and jobs, as the affluent hoity-toity kids.

  6. Or you could just call it an attack on public education and another form of corporate welfare.

  7. After you’ve read some of the pseudo-science, historical revisionist, tacitly racist textbooks by Abeka and Bob Jones University Press and others that are used in many Christian “academies,” you’ll definitely be highly suspicious of that proposal.

    It’s all bout white theology.

  8. So public money meant for educating an entire community is used in a deliberately discriminatory manner and to support political cronies.

    It’s not competition or choice if you are attacking one option to support another. If those religious or charter schools are so effective, then they don’t need public money. Vouchers are literally stealing money from public schools to fund discriminatory institutions.

    Private and charter schools that rely on vouchers have a rep for being corrupt, ineffective and not any better than public schools in the same communities.

  9. Charter schools are literally for profit. They pay lower wages to their teachers, they don’t provide any meaningful special education, and unlike public schools, they don’t have to accept all comers. “Vouchers” represent just another GOP corporate looting plan.

  10. If said religions had any merit, I might be willing but all religions are corrupt historically and theologically.

  11. Race is just a social construct. Don’t you know. And how come no one is calling you a bigot? Oh yea, forgot where I was.

  12. I don’t want my kids being taught lbgt propaganda and being worried about being shot.

  13. “…….Public schools are a unifying factor ……..”
    Yep…….Individual In — Robot Out. 10th plank of the Communist Manifesto

  14. Then pony up the money and put them through whatever bigot wingnut fanatic run school you want.

    I don’t have to pay for it.

  15. “First, public money should fund public schools, which serve 90 percent of American students.”

    To rephrase that, taxpayer money should fund taxpayer schools — whichever schools those taxpayers prefer, rather than only what the State chooses to offer them. But I can understand how the Social Justice Warriors might panic at the thought of children being brought up in their parents’ culture rather than the one the SJW’s want to impose on them when they’re young.

  16. Perhaps, look around to how other countries approach religion in the schools. Many western democracies with full freedom of religion feel perfectly OK with funding religious schools that meet certain minimum standards. These countries pay for teachers who meet the standards of the government and may be directly on the payroll of the local school authority along with providing material, text books and maintenance in the church owned schools, or allow religion courses as part of the curriculum in public schools. Nobody is forced to participate and it instills a moral structure and work ethic in the students.

  17. The answer are the vouchers. Parents should have the right to educate their children and to keep them safe. Public schools not only indoctrinate but can’t keep our children safe.

  18. Secular public schools are just as much “religious education” as private schools. Public schools teach from one worldview perspective (secularism), and the vast array of private schools offer education from various other worldview perspectives. Both teach from worldviews, but private schools are more diverse while the public schools are monolithically secular.

  19. So public money meant for educating children is used to support political cronies, starting with the NEA.

    Since those religious or charter schools are educating children, they are entitled to public money, or educating children is not in fact a public function.

    As to “corrupt, ineffective and not any better than public schools”:

    https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/studies/2006461.aspx

  20. Many charter schools are not-for-profit.

    The fact that they may not have to accept all comers allows them to focus on education, not running a detention center under the guise of being a “school”.

    That permits them to focus on the students who want to learn.

  21. That means that they discriminate in admissions, and yet we the taxpayers get stuck with the bill. Nuts to that! — Edd Doerr

  22. Spuddie is right on target, and most Americans agree with him. In 28 state referenda from 1966 to 2014 voters from coast to coast rejected vouchers and all similar gimmicks by 2 to 1. — Edd Doerr

  23. The vast majority of private schools are run by religious outfits. So vouchers violate every taxpayer’s right not to be forced by government to support religious institutions. Arnzen needs to read what Jefferson and Madison had to say on the subject. — Edd Doerr

  24. Utter hogwash. In our pluralistic society our public schools, serving 90% of our kids, are religiously neutral, as they should be. It is the private schools — run by Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Evangelical, Episcopal, Adventist, Jewish, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Islamic, Scientology, Presbyterian, and other religious groups — that engage in sectarian indoctrination and that fragment our school population along religious, class, ethnic, ideological and other lines. For 50 years Americans have consistently voted down all forms of tax aid to there sectarian private schools. — Edd Doerr

  25. Other countries, for many reasons, do a lot of things that America’s Founders repudiated when they adopted our Constitution and Bill of Rights, which protect religious liberty and church-state separation. Note that it was Chile under the brutal Pinochet military dictatorship that first implemented the Milton Friedman school voucher plan — which US voters have always rejected. — Edd Doerr

  26. So Doug wants all American taxpayers to support a wide range of religious private schools that discriminate in admissions, hiring teachers and selecting curricula. He is out of touch with the vast majority of US voters. — Edd Doerr

  27. Bob is being dominated by my syntax to say something silly. I am clearly such an intellectual superior that he can’t even form his own statements or argument style.

    Your claim that public education is inherently corrupt is unsupportable. There is nothing about the government using it’s funds to provide public service which is by its nature corrupt. You are full of crap. The number of instances where private entities squandering public money in privatization schemes is so common as to be the default. Most schemes involve politically connected entities receiving public funding in an undue fashion.

    “Since those religious or charter schools are educating children, they are entitled to public money”

    No they aren’t. Where do you get this crap from? They are private and therefore can find their own funding. A private school has no duty to teach all eligible children in a community. Therefore have no inherent entitlement to funding for such purposes.

    Your position is irrational. Private and charter schools by dint of relying on public funding become de facto public schools.

    There is nothing inherent to religious, charter or private schools which is superior to public schools of similar funding. In many cases they are far worse because profit motives create disincentives to quality education. The customer is not the family, it is the government agency giving the vouchers.

    Your link is useless because private schools included are those which don’t take vouchers at all. The studies acknowledge their small sample sizes make widespread interpretation impossible.

  28. Horse manure. Our public schools, though unevenly and inadequately funded, are rated A or B by 70% of Americans for the public school serving their oldest child. — Edd Doerr

  29. Vouchers are not the answer. Vouchers and all other gimmicks for diverting public funds to religious and other private schools have been defeated 2 to 1 in 28 state referenda from coast to coast. See my essay “The Great School Voucher Fraud” at arlinc.org. — Edd Doerr

  30. Which is exactly why Trump is interested. His agenda always appears to target the least popular choices.

  31. If they’re taking funding from public education, they should operate under the same rules as public schools. In 2015 alone, more than 400 new charter schools opened while 270 schools closed due to low enrollment, lack of finances or low performance. Doesn’t sound like success to me.

  32. No they aren’t. The answer is for you dive into your own pockets. If you don’t like how public schools are run, then take part in their operations as befitting a democratic nation and community. Schools are run at a local level.

    If you can’t deal with the idea that they don’t cater to your religious zealotry and personal bigotry, tough luck. You don’t need anyone else’s money for that.

  33. I want poor parents to have the same power to choose their children’s schools as the wealthy. I apologize if that offends you.

  34. So, JP, are you claiming that the private schools do not indoctrinate? As many are religious schools, it would seem their very goal is to indoctrinate, particularly with ludicrous, impractical notions of supernatural beings.

    The safety issue seems to be tied closely with the obsessive need to protect “gun rights” in the US. It is not rational to put the blame for safety issues entirely on the public schools when, after all, they are trying to focus on education.

  35. If the school is going to be attended for the purpose of promoting only “their” religion, then they should have to pay for it.

  36. Secularism is not a worldview perspective. It describes our world of reality before the myths of gods and the scams of religions were invented to terrify, enslave, control and maximize power and profit for the hucksters selling the scam with their hands on the controls. Religion is a left over from primitive, ignorant, dark age superstition and supernatural nonsense that kids should be protected from.

  37. “To rephrase that, taxpayer money should fund taxpayer schools —
    whichever schools those taxpayers prefer, rather than only what the
    State chooses to offer them.”

    Since the state is funding the schools, the state can offer whatever they want there. If you want options, you need to use your own money for them. State schools have a duty to educate an entire community. A private school doesn’t. So a private school doesn’t need state funding.

    “But I can understand how the Social Justice Warriors might panic at the
    thought of children being brought up in their parents’ culture rather
    than the one the SJW’s want to impose on them when they’re young.”

    Its was done before. It was terrible. Times have changed.

  38. It does offend. Because you want MY money and to destroy OUR schools to do it.

    Besides, the schools the wealthy send their kids to, don’t take vouchers. They maintain their reputation by keeping poor children out.

  39. Actually many western democracies falter a bit on religious freedom by not separating church from state. The public pays for the religious education of the majority religions. Those in a religious minority are left out of such systems.

    A government run religious school is an anathema to our system. One which religious freedom is dependent on keeping the apparatus of government out of entanglement with the apparatus of religion.

  40. No they aren’t. Our government is secular. Therefore, its schools are also secular by nature. Secularism requires respect for all religious faiths by favoring none. It is as far from religious education as one gets.

    Religious education does not require government subsidy ever. If you want to send your kids to private school, use your own money to do so. You do not require funding from others to pay for your selfish singular sectarian religious indoctrination.

  41. Trump simply hates public schools (that’s why DeVos is his Ed Sec) and never attended them.

  42. Yes, it is…a much abused, Modern-Era social construct with a lot of long discredited scientific/scientistic and “conservative” white evangelical baggage.

  43. Most students want to learn. Some have disabilities that require extra help. Public schools by law provide whatever those students need–staffing, specialized staff, facilities, whatever.

  44. Some charter schools, authorized and funded by school districts, function perfectly well. But you are right on regarding vouchers.

  45. “SELFISH”=key word. Very chrisitan. It’s the kind of people they really are. They showed it again by electing that POS tRUMP

  46. Why, if that is the school the parents choose? Public schools are used to promote the social values of our secular elite, after all, so why shouldn’t poor parents be able to send their children to schools that promote their own cultural values?

  47. Public schools function based on best available evidence and reality. Reality is not a choice. Religion is. If they choose religion, they should have to pay for it. Simple.

  48. “so why shouldn’t poor parents be able to send their children to schools that promote their own cultural values?”

    Dishonest argument. Rich families use public schools as well. They even are willing to pay exorbitant property taxes in their communities for great public schooling.

    Also its not an actual choice for poor children either. The vouchers are taking money away from their public schools. So they are destroying one type of school to fund private schools for them.

    As for “cultural values”, what you are really saying is you want to be able to discriminate in schools openly. Public schools aren’t meant to serve such purposes. Your selfish motives here are better suited for schools using your money. It is offensive to ask others to pay for such goals.

  49. Secularism is not atheism. Its a view that religious beliefs of all can be respected by not showing favoritism. It is the basis of our government’s actions and religious freedom. That is not only a worldview perspective, it is binding legal principles.

  50. You assume religious schools engage in indoctrination because the doctrines they teach are not doctrines you agree with. Public schools are religiously neutral in the sense that they don’t teach tenents of any particular religion, but they are by no means worldview-neutral. The very language in this article betrays the author’s own worldview presuppositions.

  51. It is the very reason why you support religious schools. Their very duty is to indoctrinate students to the specific sectarian view of the religious group which creates the school.

    “but they are by no means worldview-neutral.:

    Doesn’t matter. The secularism you decry is not religious belief nor indoctrination. It is the principle of our government protected religious rights. All government agencies and resources must operate from a position of secularism.

    To say you oppose secularism is to say you oppose religious freedom. That you are against the free exercise of religions besides your own and for sectarian discrimination by government.

  52. Unclear on the concept.

    Each religion teaches doctrines that all of the rest of them don’t agree with.

  53. “Cultural values”, along with “tradition, heritage, and roots”, all self constructs of personal prejudices, based on the myths of gods and the scams of religions, all imaginary, to give the appearance of legitimacy to religions.

  54. Again……..reality and science are not world views. Religion is a world view based on imaginary nonsense.

  55. Reality is reality. Fantasy and make believe are just that. For us to survive, a choice has to be made. Reality is much more beneficial than make believe and fantasy.

  56. Some light reading for people who still want to loot public resources for their personal selfish sectarian agendas

    “Voucher Program Proves A Boon To Con Artists”
    https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/schools-for-scandal-fla-voucher-program-proves-a-boon-to-con-artists

    “Racist Origins of Private School Vouchers”
    https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education-k-12/reports/2017/07/12/435629/racist-origins-private-school-vouchers/

    School Vouchers: A Pathway toward Fraud and Abuse of Taxpayer Dollarshttp://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2013/04/24/school-vouchers-a-pathway-toward-fraud-and-abuse-of-taxpayer-dollars/

    School For Scandal: D.C. Voucher Program Plows Taxpayer Money Into Unaccredited Institutions, Newspaper Reports
    https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/school-for-scandal-dc-voucher-program-plows-taxpayer-money-into

    a comprehensive study of the D.C. voucher program released by the U.S. Department of Education in 2010, which found “no conclusive evidence” that students receiving vouchers showed improved math and reading test scores over their public school peers.”

  57. They have the right to educate their children. If fact, they have the dutyfor it. That’s why we have public schools

  58. The problem is that the author of this article is operating out of a framework wherein traditional religious teachings, particularly with regard to sexual ethics, are considered oppressive. This is evident by the language she uses. She is apparently okay with religious schools so long as they don’t actually operate by the historic tenents of their religion. Ideally though, I don’t think any schools should be funded by the government. I think the innovation of the public school system was a mistake, precisely because there is no such thing as a morally-neutral or worldview-neutral education.

  59. Or take your approach – Columbine High School, nobody learns, the NEA gets paid to lobby, it costs a fortune, and the taxpayers get stuck with the bill.

    Nuts to that!

  60. The fact that the majority of private schools are run by “religious outfits” seems to support the conclusion that people want their children to get a religious education.

    If the goal is to educate children, not make them property of the state and allow the NEA, ACLU, UUA, and courts to indoctrinate them, that seems like a good thing.

    Public education postdates Jefferson and Madison, who therefore did not opine on the topic.

    The prevention of supporting religious institutions is controlled by the fact that the parents of the children make the selection, not the government, not the schools. The state controls a basic curriculum so that the educational purpose is met, and standardized testing to ensure quality.

    Then again, one needs to consider the source of commentary – ordinary citizens trying to get their children educated or paid lobbyists for anti-religious groups?

    http://www.arlinc.org/about/officers.html

    http://huumanists.org/users/edd-doerr

    https://www.uua.org/offices/people/edd-doerr

    Quality education and choices should be in the hands of every parent, not just the Kennedys, the Clintons, and the Obamas.

  61. If the same rules as public schools worked, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    The fact that 270 private schools closed indicates something is happening there which is not happening in the public schools – natural selection, survival of the fittest rather than survival of the entrenched.

  62. “The problem is that the author of this article is operating out of a
    framework wherein traditional religious teachings, particularly with
    regard to sexual ethics, are considered oppressive. ”

    They are. Religious schools discriminate in that respect on a regular basis and you support such actions on THE BASIS THEY ARE PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS NOT FUNDED OR RUN BY THE GOVERNMENT.

    “She is apparently okay with religious schools so long as they don’t actually operate by the historic tenents of their religion.”

    That is not what she said. Go back and re-read the article. Any religious school is OK if they are not taking public money.

    ” I don’t think any schools should be funded by the government.”

    On that I must vehemently disagree. Public schooling is a duty of the government. It is meant to ensure an educated population throughout free of discrimination concerning access. The government has a role to provide adequate education to the most people as possible in a community.

    “I think the innovation of the public school system was a mistake,
    precisely because there is no such thing as a morally-neutral or
    worldview-neutral education.”

    I think your views are rather selfish and you chafe at the very concept of treating your fellow citizens with a modicum of respect and courtesy. You want our government to endorse selfish sectarian and discriminatory ideals. I find that repugnant.

  63. The only thing being dominated by your syntax is your continuing inability to make sense.

    You provided zero evidence, as usual, for the following assertions:

    “Your claim that public education is inherently corrupt is unsupportable.”

    “You are full of crap.”

    “The number of instances where private entities squandering public money in privatization schemes is so common as to be the default.”

    “Where do you get this crap from?”

    “Your position is irrational.”

    “Private and charter schools by dint of relying on public funding become de facto public schools.”

    “In many cases they are far worse because profit motives create disincentives to quality education.”

    “The customer is not the family, it is the government agency giving the vouchers.”

    “Your link is useless because private schools included are those which don’t take vouchers at all.”

    You’re a mass of personal opinions in search of some data to support them.

  64. Indeed.

    It would be interesting to provide vouchers for students with disabilities and see what private offerings to accomplish that might look like.

    The outcomes to this point have been less than uniformly salutary, and the adoption of a nationwide Results Driven Accountability approach has received significant pushback from the current purveyors of the public school product.

  65. Public schooling is “a duty of the government” only at the state level and only in the states where that is specified in its constitution.

    Remove your animus against religion from your post, and you really have nothing to say.

  66. Certainly when I want a comprehensive study on vouchers I got the agency who makes its living piddling with public education and whose budget would be cut drastically if vouchers were the norm.

    And citations from three anti-Catholic organizations – oh come on.

  67. Its really 2 late for that. There are already millions of guns in our country already.

  68. That is one the purposes of education – to indoctrinate one’s children in the parents’ view of the world and parental values.

    What you’re calling “secularism” is actually “anti-religion” and that in fact is what you’re trying to peddle.

    No, it is not true that “(a)ll government agencies and resources must operate from a position of secularism”. The government may neither favor nor disfavor a religious view, which would prohibit secularism as well.

  69. All schools indoctrinate. Early education was based on the Bible and made this country great. What we have now is a lot of nonsense such lbgt propaganda.

  70. Ad hominem in lieu of learning about a subject or bothering to read. I am not surprised. Also all those links went to news articles.

    You are too lazy to even come up with an accurate description of the links.

    Cutting public education budgets to siphon towards private sources is in of itself objectionable and represents a looting of public resources for corrupt ends.

    “And citations from three anti-Catholic organizations – oh come on.”

    Who linked to news articles. Oh come on.

  71. So you don’t support gun control. Why am I not surprised? Vaginas need state regulation. Guns do not.but of course, you have plenty of thoughts and prayers to send. That always works.

    Australia confiscated 650000 guns 20 years ago. Their murder and suicide rates plummeted.

  72. Public schooling is a duty of the federal government as well considering the Department of Education controls funding which goes to public schools which are at the state and local level.

    https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/role.html

    http://www.edcentral.org/edcyclopedia/school-finance/
    “All three levels of government – federal, state, and local – contribute
    to education funding. States typically provide a little less than half
    of all elementary and secondary education funding. Local governments
    generally contribute about 44 percent of the total, and the federal
    government contributes about 13 percent of all direct expenditures.”

    Next time please educate yourself on the subject before chiming in. Your ignorance here would be an embarrassment if you had a sense of shame.

    “Remove your animus against religion from your post, and you really have nothing to say.”

    Untrue. It is clear you aren’t reading what I am saying anyway, so your opinion of such things means zilch.

  73. So, the government takes away your money to provide an education of your own children, a massive school board, the courts, and the NEA make it clear you have little or no say in how the schools are run, but now you have to dig into your pockets and pay AGAIN for a quality education.

    No, schools are not run at a local level.

    Their budget may be set at a local level, or it may be set by a court.

    But I think you tip your hand with “religious zealotry and personal bigotry”.

    You don’t care if there are a thousand Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Schools or Columbines, as long as those hated religionists don’t get to educate children.

    Horse patootie.

  74. Then if they don’t want to use the schools that our tax dollars provide, they are free to take their children elsewhere.

    But wait! They don’t want to pay for that. They want tax dollars to pay for that, someone else’s dollars to pay for that.

    Government dollars to pay for that! Get the government out of our lives, except when they can give us money or use other people,s money to impose our theology on people who don’t want it in their lives. Then no government is too big.

    Hypocrite.

  75. You are imitating my writing style. I am dominating your thoughts!

    “You provided zero evidence, as usual, for the following assertions”

    You put me in quotes but you aren’t giving a rebuttal. By all means articulate a contrary point of view. How lazy are you?

    Please do try to troll better.

  76. No, it is not a duty of the Federal Government.

    A duty is something which one MUST do.

    The Department of Education and all the money going to and through it is completely optional.

    Congress could close the entire operation in the morning.

    Again, remove your animus against religion from your post, and you really have nothing to say.

  77. I would be happy to provide the same information on the anti-Catholic origins of what is now trying to palm itself off as “Americans United” that I have provided in the past.

    The Center for American Progress Action Fund shares offices and staff with the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAP Action) . Politico wrote in April 2011 that it “openly runs political advocacy campaigns, and plays a central role in the Democratic Party’s infrastructure, and the new reporting staff down the hall isn’t exactly walled off from that message machine, nor does it necessarily keep its distance from liberal groups organizing advocacy campaigns targeting
    conservatives”.

    Needless to say the two national teachers’ unions are big supporters, as well as big supporters of public education.

    You do have a tendency to rely on propaganda rather than facts, whatever the topic.

  78. The only people I know with your writing style are students in special education classes.

    I think listing your unsupported nonsense point by point articulated a contrary point of view.

  79. As opposed to the grand secular, “scientific” vision that gave us eugenics and Communism, along with the oppression and mass slaughter that accompanied those ideologies wherever they came to power.

  80. Wow, how can you even see through those rose-colored glasses?

  81. That was a stupid remark.

    The goal of an educated population is the duty of the government at all levels. Yes the government could roll up its operations in funding education, but it would be disastrous and counterproductive to the nation in the process. Therefore its their duty to maintain adequate education for the public.

    And you wonder why I call your position cretinous?

  82. Yup. Because taxes are an obligation to the public. We all pay for the maintenance and upkeep of common public resources. It is the price of not living in a cave. Of course if you want some measure of control in the public education, then simply use the apparatus of democracy and get involved with the local school board. Common public resources meet common demands. If you want something more personalized, you have to use your own money for it.

    “Their budget may be set at a local level”

    Which means the ultimate control is at a local level. Thank you for proving my point.

    “You don’t care if there are a thousand Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
    Schools or Columbines, as long as those hated religionists don’t get to
    educate children.”

    You are not offering an alternative to that either. Sane gun control laws would prevent those. Attacking public education does not. You really have a problem making logical connections.

  83. Home schooled parents pay taxes like everyone else. They should have the right to use their tax money as they see fit.

  84. If parents don’t want the government educating their kids, they have plenty of options they can pay for. I don’t have to pay for them. Nobody else does either.

    Public schools are for the general public, meet general needs and require tax money. You have a duty as a member of a community to support them.

    “What you’re calling “secularism” is actually “anti-religion” and that in fact is what you’re trying to peddle.”

    Um no. Not even close. I am simply taking the concepts of religious freedom as espoused by our laws and culture. Secularism is not anti-religion. It is religious neutrality. I guess that is seen as an imposition by those expecting special privilege for their faith, but it isn’t.

  85. So do you think that most Americans who have guns are going to give them up? Do you think the crooks will give up their guns?

  86. You didn’t read the links. Several of them are news stories. Several others describe and link directly to news stories. You are just going by the web addresses. How lazy.

  87. You don’t think private schools can be targets for violence? Now that’s Christian privilege.

  88. I, like all Americans, am so glad to hear my tax dollars will be going to the local Wahhabist madrassa! All children should have the opportunity to hear their teachers denounce America and glorify Allah.
    What’s that? You thought voucher money would only go to Christian schools, or at worst sufficiently conservative, Pope(Francis)-hating Catholic schools? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

  89. Here is an excellent article on how schools need to deal with this problem:
    “https://townhall.com/columnists/lawrencemeyers/2018/02/15/president-trump-have-education-department-mandate-active-shooter-protocols-n2449726

  90. All schools — public, private, charter — should have active shooter protocols at this point. No question.

  91. Bob does not grasp that our public schools are run by 13,000+ local elected school boards, not the NEA, the ACLU, or the UUA (a small religious denomination). Most Catholics, Protestants and Jews send their kids to public schools. And to repeat: when US voters vote on vouchers or other gimmicks to reroute public funds to special interest private schools they defeat them by 2 to 1. — Edd Doerr

  92. Under North Carolina’s miserable school voucher plan the largest recipient of the tax funds is the Greenville Islamic Academy.

  93. The federal Department of Education is not only completely optional but arguably illegitimate altogether. Education is not one of the federal government’s enumerated powers and therefore belongs to the states in its entirety — but Spuddie has already demonstrated elsewhere that he does not understand federalism so further discussion on that will likely be pointless.

  94. Our public schools are run by 13,000+ local elected school boards, not by the NEA, ACLU or UUA (a church). Bob seems unable to grasp that diverting public funds to sectarian private schools violates every taxpayer’s right not to be forced to support religious institutions. Read Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, which led to Jefferson’s VA constitutional ban on such misuse of public funds and led to the First Amendment. — Edd Doerr

  95. Private schools, even with vouchers, provide a quite smaller % of their resources on special ed kids than do our public schools.

  96. What Bob is ignorant of is that Catholic school enrollment dropped from 5.5 million in 1965 to less than 2 million today because the residue of Protestant prayer in schools was dumped by the Supreme Court in 1962-63. The vast majority of Catholic kids attend public schools. (Incidentally, Bob, I am an honors grad of Indiana’s leading Catholic high school and am a former public school teacher.) — Edd Doerr

  97. Got it. As long as the propaganda is the kind you agree with, we’re cool.

  98. Our public schools are “secular,” which means that they are religious;y neutral. They do not teach “secularism.”

  99. Jon is dead wrong. Without public schools we would have an anarchic mess with our whole population utterly fragmented along religious, ideological, social class, ethnic, and other lines. — Edd Doerr

  100. Race is a Social Construct…..UNLESS one wants to disparage white people.

  101. The federal government entered the education field to help equalize educational opportunity.

  102. Vouchers mean that government chooses to force taxpayers to support religious institutions they would not choose for themselves. Doug needs to read up on Jefferson and Madison and see the wisdom of our heritage of separation of church and state. — Edd Doerr

  103. Rejection of vouchers means you think the State knows better than the parents what school their children go to, and so should have the right to make that decision for them.

  104. JP is evidently unfamiliar with how public schools work.

  105. Yes, they are, because the “science” they were based on proved to be figleafs for arrogance and bigotry. I wonder what “scientific” beliefs the secular elites want to impose on us now will prove the same in the future?

  106. Bob ignores the fact that our public schools are responsible to 13,000+ local elected school boards, not the NEA. — Edd Doerr

  107. On balance, homeschooling in inferior to regular schools. I speak from a background as a teacher.

  108. Parents are free to send their kids to a Muslim, Evangelical, Catholic, Jewish or Scientology private school. Just don’t force taxpayers to support it. Public schools are responsible to one of the 13,000+ local elected school boards. — Edd Doerr

  109. By the parents in the annual PDK polls reported every August.

  110. So you are arguing against views nobody here has actually expressed or shared.
    Good for you for standing up to that vicious strawman!
    You sure showed them!

    What you are calling cultural values, tradition and heritage are more honestly referred to as bigotry, discrimination and privilege.

  111. As opposed to religious based bigotry and arrogance which still persists and you want to promote with tax dollars.

  112. You need to watch “Idiocracy”. It’s your documentary

  113. No they don’t. Because the whole point of taxes is to pay for things a community uses, not just an individual. We all pay for services available to the public.

    If you want a say in how taxes are used, then take part in the representative government responsible for such matters.

  114. That you sourced them from a dubious source more or less kills them.

    Your first citation was to a blog, not a news story.

    The author was Rob Boston, Director of Communications at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, with 30 years of employment there, and the author of multiple anti-religious books.

    His blog points out that there are more than 1,000 schools receiving vouchers in Florida, and he cites six examples of problems in Florida. That’s 0.6%.

    The article, btw, was from 2011 and was no longer available on-line.

    I retrieved it from web.archive.org and found that the conditions noted were a result of issues at the Florida Department of Education which were remedied some years ago.

    I found that the Miami New Times is a weekly, not a daily, newspaper owned by the Village Voice, and is an “alternative” media outlet, not an actual newspaper.

    So, no “several of them” were not “news stories”. And you obviously relied on Boston’s blog since the article itself was inaccessible.

    And the process I described was just your first “link”. I don’t have the time to do the research you should be doing BEFORE posting drivel like that.

  115. Yes, we’ve determined early on that the government has usurped the parental right to educate their children, and if they don’t like, they have to be Kennedys, Clintons, Obamas, or other people with resources.

    In a state where the schools “suck” and the state constitution does not compel school support, I would have little problem voting to cut public funding until something gave.

    Yes, you peddle an anti-religious screed, not just on this topic.

  116. Edd apparently does not grasp that the amount of leeway any local school board has is fairly well restricted to setting a budget. They operate under layers of state and federal regulations, court rulings, union contracts, and lawsuits by organizations such as those he has worked for in his long career of opposing religious education.

    It does not take a rocket scientist or a CPA to understand that most people send their children to public schools because the government has removed the money from their pockets to do otherwise.

    Polls on vouchers are all over the lot, because how it is put changes the responses:

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/how-many-people-support-school-vouchers/article/2602069

    but the fact remains that when school choice is put to voters, the national teacher unions and other special interest groups pull out the stops and put millions into opposing vouchers.

    The NEA is doing that as I write in Arizona.

  117. LOL, I don’t have to give a crap what you think of my links here. Either you have read the articles or not.

    You haven’t nor are willing to. My citations were to blogs referring to news stories or news stories.

    Instead of wasting bandwidth with such infantile sniping, maybe try to give us sources of your own which demonstrate why you think looting public resources and destroying public education in favor of private schools is a good idea.

    Or you can continue being a lazy troll.

  118. He understands federalism, he just likes a win/win situation and can be struck deaf, dumb, and blind when he chooses.

  119. Recall that Louisiana state politician who demanded the use of vouchers for religious school…until she learned that non-Christian religious schools would be allowed to receive them too. She slunk off into a corner somewhere.

  120. Its my understanding that parents have a right to use the money they pay in taxes to use for the schooling of their children as they see fit. Any parent should have this right.

  121. Because there are no special ed vouchers. Take a look at what the public schools spend per capita on special ed students and compare it to their outlays on other students per capita.

    As the system is currently rigged, private schools – with the exceptions of those catering to the wealthy – cannot afford the special training and equipment necessary to perform this task.

  122. Thanks to the government fleecing private school parents of the money needed to educate their children in favor of supporting non-functional public schools.

    Yes, I think you should inform folks of your stake in supporting the NEA and some of the reasons why you’re particularly opposed to Catholic K-12 education, although your status as a Unitarian who graduated from a Catholic high school 70 years ago probably does let the cat out of the bag.

  123. Of course in other settings this “sectarian indoctrination” is called “diversity” and “pluralism”.

    You might want to clue in readers on how you moved from Catholic to “anti-sectarian” Unitarian.

    It makes your comments, and the obvious internal contradictions, a lot more comprehensible.

  124. “Students coming from a home school graduated college at a higher rate than their peers­ — 66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent — and earned higher grade point averages along the way, according to a study that compared students at one doctoral university from 2004-2009.

    They’re also better socialized than most high school students, says Joe Kelly, an author and parenting expert who home-schooled his twin daughters.” https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/01/homeschooled-students-wel_n_1562425.html

  125. LOL, and you expect people to actually read them?

    A blog on an anti-Catholic website with a link to a seven-year-old article no longer available on-line?

    And then you have chutzpah to kvetch your “news stories” weren’t read?

    Speaking of lazy trolls.

  126. What parental right are you talking about? Parents have the option not to send their children to public school. The government is providing education because it is what parents by and large want. They want their taxes and public resources to go towards education of a community.

    But they must pay for public services whether they use them or not. Many use the quality of the public schools to justify the property taxes and to draw people in who are willing to pay them. If you want to use your own, that must come from your pocket.

    “Yes, you peddle an anti-religious screed, not just on this topic.”

    You are talking nonsense. I am doing nothing of the sort. It is not anti-religious to say your faith doesn’t need my cash. It is just being honest and sensible. Its funny how your religious belief always involves dragging unwilling people into it. How rude and selfish.

  127. Bob has no problem with government dollars fragmenting our school population along religious, ideological, class, ethnic and other lines. Spoken like a true Trumpian. And why does it bother Bib that people shift from one religious tradition to another?

  128. zzzzzzzz

    You are putting me to sleep with your lazy unwillingness to support your own position.

  129. Excuses, excuses. Bob ignores the fact that public schools are required to serve special ed kids, while voucher aided schools are not.

  130. Bob ignores the SCOTUS rulings in Lemon v Kurtzman in 1971 and a string of other rulings in the 7/0s and 80s. And dismissing Jefferson and Madison as irrelevant is very Trumpian.

  131. Nope. They elect officials who do that job. Taxes are meant for community use so they are subject to community decisions. Moreover you are not just asking for your dollars to go to private school, you are asking for mine as well.

    I don’t want to nor need to give you that money. I support my position by voting for officials who ensure the tax money is spent in such a way.

  132. Since you object to your tax dollars going to schools whose teachings you disagree with, should parents have the right to refuse to pay taxes to support public schools whose teachings they disagree with?

  133. Roy dismisses the most significant polls on education over the past 40 years.

  134. Nothing whatsoever to do with what I said. Their reasons do not create legitimacy; only the Constitution can do that, and it doesn’t.

  135. Why don’t we try and find out. But saying that we must control women’s vaginas, but not even attempt to control guns, just means that all of this Christian morality stuff you are always spouting is just so much crap. If guns made us safer, we would be the safest place on earth. But you say, “No. No. It’s too hard.”

  136. La Raza Cósmica, perhaps. Universópolis sounds nice.

    Don’t blame others if you can’t make that white privilege thing work for you. White privilege has been good to the Petersons, and has been so ever since we stumbled down the gangplank from Norway in the 1850’s.

    When we set foot on American soil, whiteness was conferred upon us to further strengthen the American white supremacist caste system.

  137. Never talked to you about guns. So you think a gun law is going to stop shootings? Do you think the bad guys are going to turn their guns in?

  138. Parents have a natural right to educate their children.

    Natural rights are those rights which predate the government. Jefferson wrote about them:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”.

    That is one reason why no parent can have his or her parental right removed except by due process.

    Obviously not everyone wants “their taxes and public resources to go towards education of a community”, especially since that has not actually been any ballots in the last 100 years or so, or this discussion would not be taking place.

    Whether “they must pay for public services whether they use them or not” is what the debate is about. You’re free to argue that, but if you do you need to support it with something.

    It is “anti-religious to say your faith doesn’t need my cash” in respect to education rather than building a church, synagogue, or mosque.

    You shouldn’t care what belief system a particular school advances unless it involves overthrowing the government through force and violence.

  139. And the public schools get well compensated by local, state, and federal money to do so – including special expensive training for special ed teachers – while private schools struggle to make ends meet thanks to the Know Nothings, the Blaine Amendments, and Edd’s lobbyist friends at the NEA.

  140. zzzzzzzz

    You are putting me to sleep with your lazy unwillingness to support your own position.

  141. We’re already fragmented along religious, ideological, class, ethnic and other lines. It’s called democracy, pluralism, diversity, and so on. It’s considered a good thing if it involves promoting native American, black, and Hispanic studies and history. The Founders considered religion a civic good.

  142. One does tend to dismiss the irrelevant. Then again, I’ve never been a member of the NEA or peddled an anti-religious script.

    Lemon v. Kurtzman, a 46 year old decision, prohibited the direct payment of salaries of teachers at a religious school.

    The so-called Lemon test that arose from that decision has never been applied to school vouchers.

    The most recent related case is Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, 582 U.S. (2017), in which the Court voided a Missouri Blaine Amendment and permitted the state to compensate a Lutheran licensed preschool and daycare in Columbia, Missouri, for paving a play area.

    The Court ruled the state violated the First Amendment by denying a public benefit to an otherwise eligible recipient solely on account of its religious status, calling it “odious to our Constitution”.

    No court has ruled vouchers violate the Constitution, and Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer provides the basis for voiding prohibitions based on state Blaine Amendments.

  143. Parents are free to send their kids to a public school where shootings, rapes, drug dealing, and so on take place, unions call the shots, and Christmas trees are banned.

    Just don’t force those who send their kids to a Muslim, Evangelical, Catholic, Jewish or Scientology private school to support it.

  144. Do you have any actual data to support that?

    How would teaching in public schools a quarter century ago inform an evaluation of homeschooling?

  145. They’re not religiously neutral.

    Every year at the legal holiday of Christmas they make that clear.

  146. The Obamas and Clinton’s daughters, and all of the Kennedys never attended public schools.

  147. I was under the impression that Americans for Religious Liberty, of which you are President, began as an anti-Catholic organization .

    I see it listed at Catholics for Choice, another anti-Catholic organization which has been specifically singled out as such by the Catholic bishops in Mexico, the USA, and Canada.

  148. I dominate your syntax! You are apparently incapable of independent thoughts. I am flattered.

  149. Using the word “natural right” is lazyspeak for just declaring things to be true without support.

    No parental rights are attacked by public schooling or compulsory education. They would be an expression of the right to educate children and the use of public resources as one of many means to do it.

    “Obviously not everyone wants “their taxes and public resources to go towards education of a community”

    Community resources such as taxes require community decisions. You as an individual don’t get to determine how taxes are used. You elect people to do it. You have an obligation for the maintenance and upkeep of community services whether you use them or not. Libertarian screeds on taxation are always brain dead nonsense; where people demand the benefits of public resources but none of the responsibility that entails.

    Still, nobody forces you to go to public schools. But you have to pay for the public schools in a community as the price of living in one. You don’t get to attack or steal from public resources to meet your individual selfish agenda. The public has no duty to pay for private schooling. They have their own to pay for. Ones which have a mandate to serve an entire community. Selfishness requires money. Your own money.

    So where is the explanation as to why our schools have to suffer for your personal selfish agenda? Why does your faith require my cash?

  150. You and I could never see ‘eye to eye’ if you can look around at the state of our Society today and have a smile on your face.

  151. You mean like the Declaration of Independence, that sort of lazyspeak.

    You are just too funny.

    When schools promote ideologies and are hotbeds of violent behavior, and parents could have other choices, parental rights are being attacked by public schooling.

    “Community resources such as taxes require community decisions.”

    Then you won’t have a problem if folks advocate for a community decision for vouchers.

    While you think “(l)ibertarian screeds on taxation are always brain dead nonsense”, you have no problem at all with other libertarian screeds like your pro-abortion posts.

    Yes, folks “have to pay for the public schools in a community”, but they also be given the choice of paying for other schools since the only government interest is in education, not discouraging certain ideas.

    As “Why does your faith require my cash?” demonstrates, your real objection is to religion.

  152. I am sure looking in the mirror does much the same for you.

  153. You mean like the Declaration of Independence, that sort of lazyspeak.

    You are just too funny.

    When schools promote ideologies and are hotbeds of violent behavior, and parents could have other choices, parental rights are being attacked by public schooling.

    “Community resources such as taxes require community decisions.”

    Then you won’t have a problem if folks advocate for a community decision for vouchers.

    While you think “(l)ibertarian screeds on taxation are always brain dead nonsense”, you have no problem at all with other libertarian screeds like your pro-abortion posts.

    Yes, folks “have to pay for the public schools in a community”, but they also be given the choice of paying for other schools since the only government interest is in education, not discouraging certain ideas.

    As “Why does your faith require my cash?” demonstrates, your real objection is to religion.

  154. Your impression is wrong. And Catholics for Choice is not an anti-Catholic organization. Check out their web site. They are Catholics who respect women’s rights of conscience.

  155. So? A president’s family is rather special and requires Secret Service protection.

  156. They are as religiously neutral as possible. If they did not close for Xmas no kids would show up. The schools do not close on the Eastern Orthodox Xmas because very few kids would fail to attend. BTW, until well into the 19th century kids in Massachusetts went to school on Dec 25 because the Puritan heritage opposes celebrating Xmas, as did the very religious Puritans in England under Cromwell.

  157. Why don’t you just keep up with the education literature.

  158. Basically because I am not 87 years old with a lot of free time on my hands and a 50 year career behind me opposing parochial schools.

  159. Bad stuff happens in private schools also, if you keep up with the news. Unions do not call the shots, as public schools are responsible to elected school boards. Public schools are supported by all taxpayers, just like roads and police and fire depts.

  160. They are as “religious neutral” as the courts, the ACLU, the half dozens organizations who regularly sue them, and so on and so forth allow them to be. That is, their tendency is to be negative towards religion.

    They close for Christmas because it is a legal holiday in all 50 states, DC, and also Federal.

  161. Sadly, the Supreme Court’s, having become dominated by Republicans, has betrayed its long history of support for church-state separation.

  162. Yes, we are a pluralistic nation, but fragmenting our school population would make matters infinitely worse.

  163. That doesn’t explain what they did before being president.

    But I am glad you’re admitting public schools are so unsafe they wouldn’t even consider sending their children to one.

  164. No, Catholics for Choice was founded by an ex-Catholic who owned and ran an abortion clinic.

    They chose their name specifically to portray themselves as ” Catholics who respect women’s ‘rights of conscience'”, but as the Catholic bishops of Mexico, the USA, and Canada made clear that is simply untrue.

    Just like Americans for Religious Liberty is a front for anti-religious propaganda.

  165. Private schools serving the wealthy spend up to $40,000 per kids per year. The natiion public school rate is about $13,000 per kids per year. And in the rural and small town districts that voted strongly for Trump the average is only about $6000 per year. Further, over the last 10 years 35 states have cut per student spending by an average of 7%. Far too many inner city public schools are underfunded antiquated dumps. And the NEA’s influence is dwarfed by that of the Koch Bros, the Waltons, and other zillionaires.

  166. That part kind of was. John Locke like most philosophers of his era were rather lazy in assuming divine inspiration. But it worked well rhetorically. 🙂

    Still not getting to the part where the community has a duty to pay for your desire to set yourself apart from the services offered by the community at their own risk.

    “When schools promote ideologies and are hotbeds of violent behavior, and parents could have other choices, parental rights are being attacked by public schooling.”

    That is certainly your personal opinion. You have the option to opt out of it and send your kids to a private school. As is your right. If you can’t afford it, its not my problem.

    You are not talking for an individual right to educate your child as you see it. You are asking for the community to pay for it, contrary to their own interests and needs. There is no obligation to do that. Your selfish sectarian desires don’t deserve public subsidy.

    “but they also be given the choice of paying for other schools since the only government interest is in education, not discouraging certain ideas.”

    There is no choice if you are destroying one type to pay for another as vouchers do. The government must serve the community with their resources, not just you. If you don’t like the direction of how public resources are used, then you just use the public means of decision making. Run for public office or vote for people with your interests.

    Your thinking goes on these lined, “I don’t like the way cops act in my community, therefore the community must pay for a personal bodyguard for me”

  167. Private schools spending $40,000 per child per year serve the sort of folks you’ve politically advocated for in the past: Kennedys, Clintons, and Obamas.

    No, the NEA’s influence is dwarfed by nothing since it is allied with other unions in supporting each other and one of the parties.

  168. Xmas has only been a legal holiday in all states since the late 19th century. And those who have sued to insure public school religious neutrality are not anti-religious, just pro religious neutrality for public schools. We need not be religiously neutral in our homes, churches, synagogues and mosques.

  169. So, we can scrap the Court decisions now?

    Moving on ….

  170. Just give us the five largest school shootings in private schools so we can begin comparing.

  171. It’s a legal holiday.

    The history of it over a hundred years is irrelevant to the discussion.

    Those who have sued want religion to be restricted to homes, churches, synagogues and mosques.

    The Founders envisioned religion in the public square, informing public debate, and playing a role in the Republic.

  172. We were talking about Thomas Jefferson, not John Locke.

    Now that you’ve kneecapped Jefferson to further your argument, I believe I’ve made my point.

  173. That makes as much sense as saying that if you don’t have kids you should not be taxed to pay for public schools. I have never been in a national park, yet I still have to pay taxes for them.

  174. I think you met private sources, not public sources.

  175. The right wing shows up.

    Americans United is not anti religious. It’s anti theocratic and pro religious freedom.

  176. All taxpayers support public schools just as we do roads and police and fire depts. BTW, like most Americans I oppose diverting public funds to ANY private denominational schools.

  177. It seems the only thing that matters to religionists ofa hyper conservative bent is what other people are doing with their genitalia.

  178. The Wash Examiner is a Trumpian far right rag. The polls that count are the state referenda that have always opposed diversion of public funds to private schools and the annual PDK polls for the last 40 years. And yes, sadly, state and local governments have been stingy in supporting the public schools that serve 90% of our kids,.

  179. If said religions had any merit, I might be willing but all religions are corrupt historically and theologically. And supporting Muslim schools, that is simply idiotic considering that they teach Islamic domination of the world by any means.

  180. Unions in America have long since lost mist of any influence they ever had. Bob is out of touch with reality. Or watches too much Fox News.

  181. When I attended church-run schools there was no exposure to people of other faiths. Luckily I attended summer school at a large public HS (for the music and advanced classes) and that enabled me to get better acquainted with our religious diversity.

  182. BS. Presidents and their families are in a special category.

  183. Leaving aside that there is no constitutional justification for the federal government owning 80% of the land within a state’s borders, I agree. Objecting to parents choosing to send their children to a school you don’t approve of because they are able to do so thanks to a voucher makes no sense.

  184. Oh dear, you are ignorant. Jefferson was directly and unabashedly paraphrasing Locke, lock stock and barrel. 🙂

    How do you not know that? Were you home schooled?

  185. All facilitated and carried out by religious people who did their bidding.

  186. I see fine. I don’t wave my hands and jabber at the sky pretending to talk to invisible, imaginary beings.

  187. LOL! Lock and stock, perhaps, but not barrel. “Pursuit of happiness” came from Blackstone, who identified it as “the foundation of what we call ethics, or natural law,” “coeval with man and dictated by God himself, and superior in obligation to any other.”

  188. A cute line that undergirds a great deal of our Constitution.

  189. LOL! Still trying to put a Christian tramp stamp on our secular government I see. 🙂

  190. Don’t project your obvious sexual fantasies on strangers.

  191. Speaking of ignorant, I’ll keep it simple for you:

    https://infograph.venngage.com/p/2036/john-locke-and-thomas-jefferson-comparecontrast

    I quoted the Declaration of Independence twice, not the Two Treatises of Government. I did so because Jefferson’s ideas underlay the American experiment and the discussion was in America about American founding principles.

    For Locke the content of natural law was identical with biblical ethics in the Decalogue, Christ’s teaching and exemplary life, and St. Paul’s admonitions. Locke derived the concept of basic human equality from Genesis 1, 26–28, the starting-point of the theological doctrine of Imago Dei.

    Locke’s focus was on property rights.

    Also Locke was in England and decades before American independence.

    As anyone familiar with the deist Jefferson can attest, that is hardly Jefferson lock, stock, and barrel.

    You must have gone to public schools.

  192. Yes, the folks I mentioned are all in a special category: rich.

  193. Edd is not bright enough to understand that if you can’t prove your argument, you lose.

  194. That sounds more like issues at home than at the Catholic schools your parents paid for.

  195. The Washington Examiner preexisted Trump.

    Its target market is the “45,000 government, public affairs, advocacy, academia and political professionals in Washington, DC, and state capitals.” According to its research, The Examiner’s readership is more likely to sign a petition, contact a politician, attend a political rally, or participate in a government advocacy group than the readerships of other political publications including The Weekly Standard, Roll Call, Politico, and The Hill. Its readership demograpyics are high-earning and highly educated audience with 26% holding a master’s or postgraduate degree and a large percentage earning over $500,000 annually, likely to be working in executive or senior management positions.

  196. The word “private” in your last sentence is redundant.

    Yes, you’ve made it clear you’re opposed to religion in schools, religion in the public square, religion in general.

    Got it.

  197. The founding name of Americans United was “Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State”. It arose in opposition to post-WWII proposals to provide aid to parochial education out of the 19th century Know Nothing and Blaine Amendment roots. It was white, Protestant, and anti-Catholic.

    One of its five founders, Glenn L. Archer, was an over-the-top antagonist to Catholics in general, including demanding the United States government void the citizenship of every American cardinal in the Catholic Church because they “vote in foreign elections” when they select a pope. That strain of bigotry is still present in the organization, but as it tried to move into the mainstream and broaden its base, it first dropped “Protestants and Other Americans” from its name, and then “for Separation of Church and State”.

    Its membership has continued to drop and it now relies on the ACLU for litigation activities, filing memoranda in support of ACLU lawsuits and touting Barry W. Lynn, its executive director, as an “expert” for the news media. It also sends threatening letters out.

    The last time I looked it had a $10m nest egg, 9/10 of which is in investments since its current operations can be supported indefinitely at its current level of support, mostly from a handful of large donors.

    Barry W. Lynn, who was ordained in the United Church of Christ, appears regularly at atheist forums and eschews any and all Christian beliefs. He styles himself as a leader of the religious left in the United States, which is consistent with the socialist founders of AU, particularly Garfield Bromley Oxnam.

    Oxnam dropped his opposition to socialism at the University of Southern California under the tutelage of Emory S. Bogardus, Rockwell D. Hunt, and James Main Dixon.

    Oxnam advocated for the “Americanization” of immigrants, but his vision involved “education for citizenship based on social justice and workers’ rights”, which demand for indoctrination into the American left led to conflict with previous supporters.

    The residual emphases after seven decades is socialist-leaning left and anti-religious.

  198. Oh dear you are ignorant and stubborn. Whatevs. Could not care less anymore. You had no point to make with the quotes.

    Still haven’t gotten to the part where you are entitled to public funds for your private selfish concern. You are obligated to pay taxes to support public education because you don’t live in a cave. Communities require taxes to function. We are not obligated to pay for your religious indoctrination school because it serves no public purpose.

    Better yet, answer this:
    Why does Christian Fundamentalism always seem to require other peoples cash and lives?

  199. Sure, let’s go back 70 years to slime Americans United now. Makes perfect sense.

    Meanwhile, Christianity started off with peace and love. It took about 300 years before they went violent. Probably less. That continued on for some centuries.

    And sure, criticize atheists for being anti religious when the most anti religious people around are fundelibangelicals.

  200. Oh dear you are ignorant and stubborn.

    We are in America – A-m-e-r-i-c-a.

    Our initial foundational document was the Declaration of Independence. It was written in 1776. John Locke died 28 October 1704. John had been dead for 72 years in 1776. 72 years.

    It was written by Thomas Jefferson – J-e-f-f-e-r-s-o-n.

    Why do crypto-fascists like yourself always seem to have their hands in other people’s pockets and want to tell people how their children must be educated?

  201. It is certainly not my fault that the origins of the entity are so shady and well-documented.

    I have no problem if you can provide some evidence that the organization disavowed its past and is not a left-wing anti-religious organization now.

    As you might imagine, its Executive Director’s public statements – including his answers to questions before a congressional hearing – may present some obstacles to your doing that.

    You can make a case Christians have been violent. It may tougher to do that with Christianity.

    It’s a lot easier to make the case that atheists have been violent, and the time it took for that to happen was considerably shorter than 300 years. Take a hard look at the French Revolution.

    And the Jews and Muslims …. well, say no more.

    Yes, I know what you like and dislike.

    And why.

  202. I’m not the one projecting cuckolding sexual fantasies upon strangers.

  203. completely illogical statement. Schools are safe but can be made safer when we start institutions sensible gun laws and restrictions, background checks. Really, you should know this stuff.

  204. toodle-off, Bobby boy. Trump is a multibillionaire. Obama is not as rich as he is. Can you think clearly or is this not a good day for your brain?

  205. Betsy DeVos was specially chosen by the Dominionist Christians to destroy public education. Public education is THE Bedrock of a civil society in the USA. DeVos/Trump/Pence/Franklin Graham want to destroy public ed. and force Christianity in what remains into the curriculum.

  206. Religious wingnuts make a big deal of the declaration of independence because it makes a vague reference to a creator. It gives them the silky idea that their religious belief is memorialized and sanctified by our laws. But it has no bearing on our laws, government or society. Our constitution however does. You aren’t addressing that actually important and legally binding document. Your reference was nonsense

    Still not getting to the part where I have to pay for your private school.

    Public school is easy to justify. You pay for it as part of your obligation to the community for all public services. Taxation is the price one pays for a community which provides for its citizens.

    But you have no inherent entitlement to my money for your private individual education.

  207. The topic was schools.

    The response was rich.

    Yes, Obama is rich.

    Yes, the Kennedys are rich.

    Yes, the Clintons are rich.

    So are the Kerrys and the Bidens.

    Is there some significance to being a multi-billionaire relative to sending your children to private schools rather than public that differentiates him from simply being rich that you can explain in the context of the discussion?

    If not, toodle-off, Loki Cat 3.

  208. Gee, if that’s true, what sort of society did we have for the near century before public education?

    Yes, it is all an insidious plot by Dominionist Christians in cahoots with the Russians in alliance with the aliens at their secret base at Area 54.

  209. Of course it’s illogical. It’s the only kind of statement you make.

    We have already have background checks, btw. Well, back to your Bloomberg-funded propaganda, eh?

  210. Neither is Barron Trump what? Do you have a point to make?

  211. Everyone makes a big deal out of the Declaration of Independence every July 4.

    And you have no inherent entitlement to anyone’s money for public education.

    Locke also mentioned a creator, btw.

    The reason is that without a creator, there is no natural law, and no rights. It is how the tail is on the cat.

    Rights was the issue, and therefore the reference was not nonsense but fundamental.

    The Constitution does not contain anything about education at all, which reinforces the notion that you have reached into other people’s pockets without any right to do so.

    Since you’ve argued the only rights are those written in the Constitution, you’ve lost that argument.

  212. ah, your brain is still fuzzy, easy to see that is so.

  213. The world view of Betsy Devos and other proponents of this program is not of this reality. Children will be taught that the source of knowledge is the Bible and Evangelical or Dominionist teachings. They will be taught that to even consider the truth of evolution is a sin that will end them in eternal suffering. Critical thinking is dangerous. Their purpose in life is to seek grace from Jesus and prepare for the end times and God’s Kingdom.

    The people supporting this administration live in this same mystical world. They support the burning of fossil fuel. Industrial pollution. America First and the expansion of the military. The atrocities that Israel is doing to the Palestinians. Global warming and the depletion of resources needed to support life are not a problem. The End Times are imminent and with Grace, Jesus will save them.

    It is not right that all citizens need to pay for the indoctrination of these children. We need for them to understand that our planet is in danger and we need to try to save it.

  214. It is necessary to tolerate religious beliefs, but not to respect them.

  215. Your libertarianism is coming out.
    The education of its citizens is the duty of a just society.

  216. The constitution allows Congress to create departments and the executive branch operates them.

  217. Your right about this. We will have to fight Trumpy to correct this problem

  218. We can’t know what the founders actually envisioned even though we have their writings on the subject. At any rate it should be irrelevant.

  219. In a good secular school, critical thinking, not indoctrination is the purpose.

  220. Why do you think parents should have the right to indoctrinate children into mystical world views?

  221. The certain inalienable rights were life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To achieve these would require the right of children to not be indoctrinated, but to learn to think critically.

  222. The Declaration was written before Darwin’s book. Jefferson was a Deist who accepted no religion. He was a follower of the thought of Epicurus. This explains why he replaced Locke’s “property” with”pursuit of happiness”.

  223. Jefferson was a Deist. He studied many religions and didn’t believe any of them. After he retired he wrote in a letter to a neighbor that his belief could best be described by the teachings of Epicurus.
    For Epicurus our creator had left and was not interested in us. He did not give us any moral rights or commands. He didn’t care. Epicurus would agree with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This would not be pursuit of property, wealth, or power. He had a much more moral and humanistic view of happiness.

  224. We can’t know what you think about the issues even though we have your posts on the subjects. At any rate your posts should be irrelevant.

    See how that works?

  225. if possession of an assault rifle were a felony’ most would be returned. More would be obtained when they appeared.

    Each weapon even if owned by a good, responsible citizen is a danger to the public. Responsible people are always responsible until they aren’t.

  226. The constitution allows Congress to create departments, and the executive to operate them, within the powers enumerated to them. The constitution enumerates no power to the federal government over education.

  227. It is the Bible that is nonsense. In what way was this country ever great?
    Its normally written lgbtqi.

  228. In order to prevent more school shooting deaths and injuries we must ban assault rifles. Can you support this or are you more concerned for the NRA?

  229. What rubbish you write. The Bible is the most read, the most studied, the most influential book in history.

  230. Betsy DeVos, the federal Secretary of Education and the founder and supporter of a vast network of private schools is the power behind this voucher system. She and her Billionaire husband are Dominionists. She has said that the purpose of education is to grow God’s kingdom. Their intention is to eventually replace puplic education and indoctrinate all students to join God’s Kingdom.

    How is opposition to this program not about religious freedom?

  231. Tell that to the crooks and let me know how many guns they give up.

  232. This is because they are concerned about the education of our children. They know voucher programs will remove resources from the public schools.

  233. The constitution gives power to the federal government. The power for the Department of Education and all the other Departments is from Congress and the Executive branch. The Constitution didn’t give Homeland Security the power to deport emigrants, but it’s legal.

  234. Yes, moving children to venues other than public schools will reallocate resources.

    No, they are concerned that somehow religious schools, particularly Catholic schools, will benefit.

  235. Assault rifles are selective fire (fully automatic, burst, single shot) rifles firing an intermediate size (larger than used in pistols, smaller than a full-sized rifle) cartridge. The progenitor and archetype is the Sturmgewehr 44 developed by the Germans in WWII.

    All fully automatic firearms, which includes assault rifles, are now and have been regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934, which requires taxation, registration, fingerprinting, extensive background checks and more.

    No new fully automatic weapons for sale to civilians have been made since 1986 due to another Federal law, nor may any be imported for sale to civilians.

    When the Clinton “assault weapons ban” was about to expire, the FBI testified before Congress that the ban had essentially zero effect on gun crime because semiautomatic rifles are rarely used in crimes.

    No, we do not need to ban anything currently sold to prevent more of any kind of shooting deaths.

    In this latest shooting plain old competent police work would have prevented the deaths.

    At one time I belonged to both the NRA and the ACLU. The ACLU worked to protect the Bill of Rights – except for the Second Amendment – and the NRA filled that hole.

    As the ACLU moved from protecting the Bill of Rights to becoming a left wing lobby opposed to entire sections of the Bill of Rights, I joined Alan Dershowitz and others in cancelling my ACLU membership.

  236. Jefferson stated that he was an “Epicurean” in the sense that to him Epicurus represented the best of Greco-Roman philosophy. He also called himself a Christian — although we can plainly see he was not that. But as far as your claim that he believed in a God that did not give us moral rights or commands, you could not be more mistaken:

    He who made us would have been a pitiful bungler if he had made the rules of our moral conduct a matter of science. For one man of science, there are thousands who are not. What would have become of them? Man was destined for society. His morality, therefore, was to be formed to this object. He was endowed with a sense of right and wrong, merely relative to this. This sense is as much a part of his Nature, as the sense of hearing, seeing, feeling; it is the true foundation of morality, and not the [beautiful], truth, etc., as fanciful writers have imagined. The moral sense, or conscience, is as much a part of man as his leg or arm. It is given to all human beings in a stronger or weaker degree — Jefferson to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787.

    In fact, one of the three achievements which Jefferson directed to be memorialized on his tombstone, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, contradicts your assessment from its very first line, which premises the entire concept of religious freedom upon the assertion that “Almighty God hath created the mind free…”

  237. Jefferson was an educated rational and critical thinking man. Like some of the other founders and most rational people of his day, he believed in a Creator.

    Jefferson owned a book by William Paley “Natural Theology” which was very popular with enlightenment intellectuals. It was considered the proof of the existence of a Creator. It stated that if you examine natural life, you will see that there are many very complicated forms of life that could not have appeared by accident. They all have a purpose and are obviously designed for that purpose. Therefore they must have been designed by a superior intelligence.

    Mainly because of this book almost all educated and rational persons of that day believed in a creator. His existence was obvious.

    Today however rational people realize that intelligence is not necessary for intricate design. Natural forces can and have accomplished this as explained in evolutionary theory, There is no Creator.

    Jefferson was right about the formation of a moral sense as part of our nature. It also occurs in other social animals, but to a lessor degree. This is also the result of natural selection. The survival of groups that care for each other is enhanced.

    For the letter about Epicurus see:
    https://www.csun.edu/~hcfll004/jefflet.html
    He did admire Jesus however if you look in the footnote for what he didn’t believe you would see that Christians would not have considered him one.

  238. Is it?

    The constitution didn’t give the feds the specific power to deport but I suppose one may say that such authority was found in the “penumbra” around the federal authority over naturalization. That and the executive authority over foreign policy.

    Ah, how the so-called “living constitution” giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other. ?

  239. Even Jesus commented upon the tendency of groups to care for their own. Tribalism is no recent discovery— it is one of humanity’s default settings.

    What He called people to was something higher. Something that even Jefferson had to acknowledge gave Christianity the moral edge over the classical philosophers.

    As for the rest, I don’t care to speculate on what Jefferson or anyone else of previous eras would have believed if they were here today. For all we know the lessons of science and history might have made some of them more devout, not less. Religious affiliation and church attendance today, for all the commotion about their decline, are many times more prevalent today than in Jefferson’s day.

  240. If you read the footnote you would know that Jefferson denied:

    *e.g the immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection & visible ascension, his corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity, original sin, atonement, regeneration, election orders of Hierarchy etc.

    I doubt that any modern Christian would consider Jefferson one. He appreciated some of Jesus’s philosophy, not that of Christianity.

    You are correct about the prevalence of Christianity in modern times. SAD.

  241. I know all about Jefferson’s denial of the supernatural aspects of Christianity. None of which has anything to do with my comments, for I have already said he was not a Christian in the orthodox sense of the word.

  242. You are obviously more informed on assault weapons than I am. I am talking about banning all semi and fully automatic weapons, and limiting the number of rounds that manually fired hunting weapons can load. We should not have weapons designed to kill people distributed among our civilian population. You didn’t answer my question. Can you supply a reason why we should tolerate this danger?

  243. I agree that religious schools should not have government support of any kind.

    Most Muslim schools may may advocate Islamic domination but not all teach by any means. Christian Evangelical and Dominionist schools also teach Christian world domination.

  244. We have had semi-automatic weapons since the late 19th century.

    Every pistol sold today – millions – are semi-automatic.

    They are protected by the Second Amendment. That’s one reason.

    Since the purpose of the Second Amendment is to put arms in the hands of the ordinary citizen sufficient to defend himself and his family. That’s why they have the capacity to kill people. That is a second reason.

    So, we “tolerate this danger” as we tolerate free speech, it is a right.

    Just because that right offends you, or my speech offends you, doesn’t you cause to infringe it.

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