Trump education pick worries church/state separationists

"Kary Moss, executive director of [ACLU] of Michigan, denounced school vouchers as 'a misguided idea that diverts taxpayer dollars into private and parochial schools and perverts the bedrock American value of separation of church and state.'”

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Aaron Blumer's picture


Strange argument from the "Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty" (American Baptist, not SBC):

“The BJC continues to defend the religious schools’ freedom to carry out their dual mission,” BJC staff counsel Jennifer Hawks wrote in the March 2015 issue of Report from the Capital. “Opposition to vouchers is a necessary part of this effort.”

“All of us deserve the right to choose religious schools for our children, but we don’t have the right to insist that others pay for it through taxpayer-funded vouchers,” Hawks said.

Perhaps the "vouchers" should be renamed "refunds." What's actually happening is families are given back some of the funds they paid into an education system they choose not to participate in. This is not government funding religious education.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Jay's picture

Just keep in mind that the American Baptist Convention isn't really Baptist in either polity or theology, and their complaint makes all the sense on the world.  The ABC-USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the progressive left.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Bert Perry's picture

....good point by Jay--it's worth noting that liberal theology was brought to the Midwest, and the American Baptists, by none other than John D. Rockefeller, who really built the University of Chicago divinity school around that proposition.  Since liberal politics seems to go with liberal theology, no surprise there.

But that said, it's odd that the American Baptists are so historically illiterate that they assume that mandatory public education, first enshrined in the post-Civil War structure, has something to do with separation of church and state, a phrase coined by Thomas Jefferson during his presidency.  

The one thing that I can say against vouchers is simple; that which the government funds, it tries to control.  As the Birchers say (I'm not a member BTW), "he who pays the piper calls the tune."  What I hope for with any Secretary of Education is that she (or he) will realize that most of what the DoEd does is a complete failure, and advocate for its defunding.  Give us our money back not as a voucher which the government will try to control, but as a cut in spending, taxes, and borrowing that we can all use in our own way.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

For what it's worth, given that DoEd funding (discretionary) is about $70 billion, we're talking about $5-700 for every family in the country.  You can't pay 100% of private school tuition with that, but it would be a nice start.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

One of the positive effects of the Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention was finally defunding the Baptist Joint Committee. 

David R. Brumbelow

Jay's picture

If you haven't listened to Al Mohler's testimony as to how he ended up as the head of the SBC, titled "The Cost of Conviction", you can grab the two media files from my public Onedrive folder or from Andy Naselli's website.  It's a fascinating (and at times, horrifying) series of messages about what he went through from the very beginning of his candidacy and what it was like to be thrust to the presidency when the SBC was largely utterly corrupted. I hope that some day someone puts it in a book, because it makes for a gripping and thought provoking story.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

dlhanson's picture

Al Mohler is the President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.    This position does not make him "head of the SBC".   He was never President of the Southern Baptist Convention according to a website which lists the current and past Presidents.  Dr. Mohler was an important part of rescuing the SBC from Bible denying liberals.  

I am no expert but our oldest son received a MDiv from SBTS and I am a music director at a Church which cooperates with the Southern Baptist Convention (we support common missionaries and the Southern Baptist seminaries including SBTS).



pvawter's picture

I recall debating the subject of school choice in college, and it seemed to me at the time that a tax rebate was a better alternative than vouchers. Vouchers go to the school in question, giving at least marginal support for the argument that it is state-sponsoring religion. Tax rebates, on the other hand, are simply given to individual Americans, so the objection loses much of its weight, imho.