Louisiana Revelation: School Voucher Funding – It’s Not Just For Christians Any More (oops!)

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Post  James Stocks on Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:53 pm

http://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/louisiana-revelation-school-voucher-funding-it-s-not-just-for-christians

A member of the Louisiana House of Representatives who eagerly supported Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to fund private schools has had an epiphany: Muslim schools might start getting taxpayer money!

Rep. Valarie Hodges, a Republican who represents East Baton Rouge and Livingston, now says she wishes she hadn’t voted for the Jindal voucher bill.

“I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools,” Hodges told the Livingston Parish News.

“I liked the idea of giving parents the option of sending their children to a public school or a Christian school,” Hodges added.

The newspaper reported that she “mistakenly assumed that ‘religious’ meant ‘Christian.’” (The article is password protected, but if you want to read the whole thing, you can sign up here for free.)

“Unfortunately it will not be limited to the Founders’ religion,” Hodges told the News. “We need to insure that it does not open the door to fund radical Islam schools. There are a thousand Muslim schools that have sprung up recently. I do not support using public funds for teaching Islam anywhere here in Louisiana.”

Where to begin? Hodges’ bigotry is perhaps only rivaled by her ignorance of constitutional and legal principles. Of course Muslim schools will qualify for funding under a voucher plan. When programs like this are set up that dole out benefits to religious schools, the government can’t play favorites. That’s basic.

In Washington, D.C., where House Speaker John Boehner and his Republican allies in Congress have established a federally funded voucher program, most of the schools taking part are Catholic, but two Muslim schools have been among the recipients.

As it turns out, the Muslim school in New Orleans has since withdrawn its request. But it’s probably only a matter of time before another one applies to enter the Louisiana program.

Some legislators aren’t comfortable funding Muslim schools. What’s to be done? How about not establishing these programs in the first place? Let Muslims fund Muslim schools. Let Catholics fund Catholics ones. Let fundamentalist Protestants pay for the conservative Christian academies and so on.

Now that the law is in effect, some lawmakers are taking a closer look at it – and they don’t like what they see. Rep. J. Rogers Pope, a former school superintendent in Livingston Parish who was critical of the bill from the start, points out that the law allows students to be educated off campus and establishes no standards for what qualifies as meaningful education.

“This is impractical on so many levels,” said Pope, a conservative Republican. “What will a high school diploma from Louisiana mean, if nobody can list our courses? How will we verify course content, attendance, teacher qualifications, and testing?”

Welcome to the brave new world of school privatization!

In other states where vouchers have been implemented, we’ve seen a plethora of fly-by-night schools, schools whose leaders are more interested in making a quick buck than educating children and schools where the primary focus is making sure kids are indoctrinated in a particular form of religion, not offering them a sound education.

It looks like Louisiana is determined to head down this well-trod path to nowhere – much to the detriment of the state’s youngsters.

Perhaps if more legislators had raised these issues before the vote, that wouldn’t be happening.

Pretty much explains why the separation of church and state was established. What a bunch of dorks.
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Post  thecolorsblend on Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:43 pm

James Stocks wrote:Pretty much explains why the separation of church and state was established.
No it doesn't.
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Post  James Stocks on Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:04 pm

I find it ironic that these people want use state funds for the so called "Founders' Religion", and yet ignore the fact that our founders were for the sepration of Church and State. Then they actually admit they only want to have this program support one religion. Shocked But what do I expect from these idiots, they didn't consider the scope of this plan before voting and now they're flailing around in realization.
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Post  thecolorsblend on Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:57 pm

James Stocks wrote:I find it ironic that these people want use state funds for the so called "Founders' Religion", and yet ignore the fact that our founders were for the sepration of Church and State. Then they actually admit they only want to have this program support one religion. Shocked But what do I expect from these idiots, they didn't consider the scope of this plan before voting and now they're flailing around in realization.
The Constitution does not require any separation between church and state. The Constitution simply says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Basically, the United States Congress can't establish an official state religion.

Therefore, an individual state setting aside funds for school vouchers or what have you is about as far the fuck away from anything even halfway resembling a first amendment issue as is possible to get while still speaking English. The two have exactly jackshit to do with each other. I can think of a lot of reasons why school vouchers may not be such a great idea but religious issues are nowhere to be found on the list.
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Post  James Stocks on Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:21 pm

Either way, it seems they shot themselves on the foot, as far as they're concerned.
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