More Tax Funds for Religious Education

On July 27 I discussed the indirect tax subsidy of Colorado Christian University. I pointed out that, typically, when the left imposes coercive wealth transfers, the “religious right does not oppose this government initiation of force, but instead insists on its share of the loot.”

I have two more recent cases to share.

Gina Liggett alerted me to an effort in Louisiana to teach God-based “science.” New Scientist published an article on the matter:

Barbara Forrest knew the odds were stacked against her… Her opponents included lobbyists, church leaders and a crowd of home-schooled children. “They were wearing stickers, clapping, cheering and standing in the aisles.” … That was on 21 May, when Forrest testified in the Louisiana state legislature on the dangers hidden in the state’s proposed Science Education Act. She had spent weeks trying to muster opposition to the bill on the grounds that it would allow teachers and school boards across the state to present non-scientific alternatives to evolution, including ideas related to intelligent design (ID) – the proposition that life is too complicated to have arisen without the help of a supernatural agent. …

Forrest’s testimony notwithstanding, the bill was passed by the state’s legislature – by a majority of 94 to 3 in the House and by unanimous vote in the Senate. On 28 June, Louisiana’s Republican governor, Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, signed the bill into law. The development has national implications, not least because Jindal is rumoured to be on Senator John McCain’s shortlist as a potential running mate in his bid for the presidency.

The broader issue is that evolution is demonstrated through overwhelming evidence, while “intelligent design” is the anti-scientific product of religious faith.

But regardless of the scientific facts, it is morally wrong to force people who disapprove of faith-based education to finance it. Yes, it is also morally wrong to force religionists who disapprove of evolution to fund its teaching, but only the former case also violates the separation of church and state. If people want to privately finance the teaching of Creationism, that is scientifically groundless but completely within their proper legal rights.

Here in Colorado, a school-prayer measure has failed to make the ballot, according to the Aurora Sentinel:

An Aurora church has abandoned its efforts to get prayer in public schools through a ballot initiative in the upcoming election.

Final Harvest Christian Center had planned to ask voters this fall to approve a measure that would give students five minutes at the start of each school day to meditate, pray by themselves or pray with others.

Obviously, students are perfectly free to spend five minutes (or five hours) praying to Jesus or saying “ohm” before they get to school. The clear purpose of the measure is to bring religion into the tax-funded schools. While the effort failed, its existence helps to show that the much of the religious right has no problem whatsoever using tax funds for its faith-based ends.