Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court are having to figure out just what it means to have a “religious” education in a case that was argued on Wednesday.
The dispute is over a program in the state of Maine that allows families who live in areas with limited access to public schools to use vouchers to send their kids to private schools.
The state deliberately excludes from the program schools that teach “religion.”
The Washington Examiner reported that even the socially leftist Critical Race Theory made its way into the discussion.
That happened when Justice Samuel Alito referenced the theory that teaches America is fundamentally racist.
The question was whether the state’s program could be used to pay for instruction at a hypothetical school that pushed onto children materials that were secular – but offensive.
Maine deputy chief attorney general Christopher Taub said “a way would be found” to make certain that a “white supremacist school” would not receive any of the funding.
“Would you say the same about a school that teaches Critical Race Theory?” Alito asked him.
“I don’t know what exactly it means to teach Critical Race Theory,” Taub claimed, “So, I think the Maine Legislature would have to look at what that actually means. But … if teaching Critical Race Theory is antithetical to a public education, then the Legislature would likely address that.”
Actually, a multitude of school districts have incorporated the theory of a racist America into their teaching materials already, provoking parents across the nation to object.
The Examiner reported, “Several justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, grilled Taub on the application of the program, hinting that the state’s application could be considered discriminatory after Taub conceded that a religiously affiliated school could receive funding under the state’s program if its religious tenets did not require it to teach religion.”
“It is the beliefs of the two religions that determines whether or not their schools are going to get the funds or not,” Roberts said. “We have said that is the most basic violation of the First Amendment religion clauses, for the government to draw distinctions based on their religions based on their doctrine.”
Lawyers for the parents who brought the claim pointed out that it is not the state, but the parents, who decide where best to spend what the state allows for the education of their children.
The Western Journal earlier explained how the decision in a similar case out of Montana could impact schools in America.
There the state allows a $150 tax credit for donations to private scholarship organizations. But the state, which distributes the revenue to need children and their parents, insisted that none of the money can go to “religious schools.”
The Supreme Court ruled against the state’s limits in that case.
A similar program in Arizona recognizes that the funding is directed by the parents, not the state, so it is not an issue there.
The Institute for Justice lawyer, Michael Bindas, explained heading into the Supreme Court arguments, “By singling out religion—and only religion—for exclusion from its tuition assistance program, Maine violates the U.S. Constitution. Religious schools satisfy Maine’s compulsory education laws and meet every secular requirement to participate in the tuition assistance program, yet parents are barred from selecting them simply because they also provide religious instruction. That is religious discrimination, and the Constitution does not tolerate it.”
The IJ’s chief, Kelly Shackelford, said, “Government discriminating against parents because of their religious choices for their children is not only unconstitutional, it’s wrong. We are hopeful the Supreme Court will put an end to these violations…”
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