Politico Rants on Vouchers ~ School Choice or Govt. Control?

An investigative report conducted by Politico this week says that $1 Billion in tax payer funds will go to Christian schools in the form of vouchers.  School choice advocates will call this a victory.  The founders believed this practice to be destructive to both liberty and faith. The Politico article serves illustrate that point.

The article argues that tax payer dollars are going to fund an education that,

“go[es] beyond teaching the biblical story of the six days of creation as literal fact.  Their course materials nurture disdain of the secular world, distrust of momentous discoveries and hostility toward mainstream scientists.”

People, that is, secular society will be very upset that their tax dollars are being used to teach children to have contempt for the secular world.  Notice that this journalist also used the word “hostility”.  “How can MY tax dollars be used to teach someone to be hostile to me?” is what we are about to hear.  A Christian might say the same thing about tax-funded madrasas. 

Proponents of vouchers professes that individuals motivated by “religious convictions” want to send their children to Christian schools and cannot afford to do so, so we need the tax dollars they pay for public education to be “reimbursed” to them to be used for Christian school education.  However, vouchers are not a “reimbursement” of the money paid in taxes, they are a government subsidy.  When the government subsidizes a program they have the obligation to regulate it.    A private Christian school teaching the principles of Christianity and the principles of creationism will soon have to stop teaching those things, if they want to operate using government funding. To do otherwise would compel those who do not share those convictions to provide funding for them. 

“to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical;”  Thomas Jefferson, The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom 1786.

Many of our founders believed that tax dollars should not be used to support anyone’s religious education, Christians, Jews, Pagans, or Muslims.  In our ignorance, we are repeating a battle in American history that our founders already fought and settled.  Shortly after the ratification of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, several legislators, Patrick Henry being one, put forth a bill to pay Christian Teachers with tax dollars.  The bill was titled, A Bill Establishing A Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion.  The purpose of this bill was to pay Christian teachers’ salaries out of collected tax revenue.  Patrick Henry was a great defender of Liberty and an ardent Christian.  In this case, his desire to defend the faith blinded him to the dangers of inviting the government into the church in the form of tax subsidies.  Fortunately, there were other legislators present that knew the dangers of such an act, and their stand helped to clarify why good intentions can lead to dangerous destinations.

To understand why it is wrong for tax dollars to pay for religious activities, we must really think about the process as a whole.   When tax dollars are used to pay someone’s salary, those people become government employees.  We like to argue that people who are paid with tax dollars are employees of the “citizens”, but when they get their paychecks they do not call themselves “citizen employees” they call themselves “State employees” or “federal employees”.   And when the government is their employer, the government has the right to dictate and regulate their employment practices; from the curriculum they teach, to the teachers they hire, and even the students they educate.  Since, tax dollars are not the property of the government but of the American people, the American people cannot allow the government to spend their money with no accountability.   Therefore, regulation of government spending of taxpayer dollars is required.  So, to take tax dollars invites government regulation, influence and control into the Christian schools.  In opposition to Henry’s Bill, an “Association of Ministers and Delegates” wrote this response:

"No man or set of Men are entitled to exclusive or separate Emoluments or Privileges from the Community but in consideration of Public Services.  (Quoting the Virginia Declaration of Rights)  If, therefore, the State provides a Support for Preachers of the Gospel, and they receive it in Consideration of their Services, they must certainly when they preach, act as Officers of the State and ought to be accountable thereto for their Conduct. . . .”

The government cannot allow the use of tax dollars in a way that will discriminate based upon criteria such as race, gender, religion, creed, etc.  So if a religious school accepts tax dollars for the performance of a service, the government must regulate that organization’s activity and prevent discriminatory practices.  The organization can no longer perform its service free to the dictates of their religious convictions, but must adhere to a non-discriminatory practice as regulated and dictated by the government.

In 1776, our founders believed that taking tax dollars to pay Christian teachers was paramount to the destruction of religious liberty:

“the Consequence of this is, that those whom the state employs in its Service, it has a right to regulate and dictate to; it may judge and determine who shall preach; when and where they shall preach.  The mutual obligations between Preachers and Societies they belong to . . . must evidently be weakened -- Yea, farewell to the Bill of Rights!”

There are deeper spiritual problems with vouchers.  By becoming funded by the government, the original intent motivating Christians to obtain vouchers may be nullified and they may no longer able to teach their children a Christian education while under the government umbrella.

Here is the real issue that should persuade Christians to think twice about vouchers.  Persons acting upon “religious convictions” ought to also believe those religious convictions.  To profess to operate under the conviction and direction of God and then demand the government to provide money, is a violation of the First Commandment. 

“[using tax dollars for religiously based programs] tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing, with a monopoly of worldly honors and emoluments,”   Thomas Jefferson, The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom 1786.

Christians are taught to bring up our children in the “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  Christians are taught also told to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Finally Christians know that God is their provider, that he is a loving and gracious Father, who owns the cattle upon a thousand hills and that “your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”  Christians are commanded to not worry about how they are going to provide for their needs (Matthew 6:31), because we cannot serve two masters.  We must choose God over our love of money.

But when Christians run to government to pay for the education of their children, they declare that God is bankrupt and needs a government bailout!  It tells a world of nonbelievers that even believers cannot trust God to provide for the needs of His children, and that all must rely on government.  It takes a nation that pledges to be “one nation under God” and tells the world we are actually “one nation under government.”   This shameful display of lack of faith undermines the believers dependence on God, and undermines the gospel itself, declaring to the world that God is NOT sufficient to provide for our needs on earth, so how can we trust Him to provide our eternal needs?

Religion not invented by human policy, must have pre-existed and been supported, before it was established by human policy. [Relying upon government provisions serves]  to weaken in those who profess this Religion a pious confidence in its innate excellence and the patronage of its Author; and to foster in those who still reject it, a suspicion that its friends are too conscious of its fallacies to trust it to its own merits. James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance 1785

The true application of the principle of “separation of church and state” is one that was won with over 700 years of battle.  (for a detailed study in the true application of this doctrine, read here)  This principle, that teaches that government has no place in the church, is wrecked by the likes of vouchers, where Christians, themselves, beg for their own destruction.  I am amazed that even in light of the current battle to keep the government out of our churches in the matter of healthcare mandates, that Christians can even consider demanding government money for programs established upon religious convictions.  Haven’t we seen well enough that where the government is invited in, it will soon run the house?  How can we with clear conscience declare the government has no right to force a religion to operate outside its conscience and provide healthcare contrary to its beliefs and with the same body demand the government give the Christian schools money?

“Well aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion,”  Thomas Jefferson, The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom 1786.

It is time for Christians of all denominations to live their testimony and show the world that we serve a living God who is sufficient in both eternal AND temporal things.  How else can we be not just hearers of the word but also doers? 

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:24, 30, 33

Christians, do what is right before God and say NO to vouchers! 

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Comment by Rich Knoch on March 28, 2014 at 9:57am

As America has proven, for 200+ years, the solution to most all problems is Free Enterprise and Competition.

The current state of many slovenly run Public Schools is simply to put them out of business by offering an alternative to their failed methodology; i.e., Vouchers and Parents Choice.  

Teaching staffs and Administrators will either clean up their act or they will become unemployed, which may actually be their planned obsolescence plan . . . anyway?

What keeps "Competition" from occurring is Political Bribes and Threats to Politicians, from Teachers Union Leadership in particular, other Unions Leadership who support anything un-American and School Boards who take he easy way out; i.e., ignore problems.  

Until the issue of Union Control of Education is settled, or preferably done away with, America will have substandard education . . the latest initiative, Rotten to the Core,  puts American Education on the edge of the Abyss, only one push away from a Socialist learning environment; i.e., a sophisticated form of brain washing.

Comment by Verl Farnsworth on March 28, 2014 at 1:14am

Like Glen Beck just said, "progressives are just patient communists",  that is what Ms. Hall is telling you.  It is like gravity, it just keeps moving until it has removed everything in its path. Those who can get through the system and get the great education that society needs and most parents want will be okay.  The second generation will be those who suffer from the demands of government in the days ahead.  There is still time to win this fight, not just a few battles, if we awaken and unify and elect and support men and women who will defend the honor of America and her founding principles.  We cannot just keep looking for a lucky break to come our way.  Only hard work and sacrifice will make due.

Comment by Gail Cohen on March 28, 2014 at 12:03am

If we institute a voucher system - how can we make sure that madrassas aren't being funded to turn out little terrorists? Also Christian and Jewish schools should be allowed to teach as they have been doing- you get more Democrats in and they will make them teach the social junk that public schools do now. These issues have to be resolved - if everything is funded by a national sales tax and no income or property tax - maybe people would have more money to vote with their pocketbooks and send their kids to private schools.

Comment by Diogenes on March 27, 2014 at 9:12pm

"Vouchers will turn every private school into government schools.etc." Is that your assumption Ms. Hall? Heretofore education has largely been funded by the individuals of a state: whereas "CORE" was financed by William Gates and Warren Buffet, both extreme billionaires who exert control over vast elements of our economy in the tradition of the Rockefeller non taxable social trusts. Our so-called government whose historic involvement in education has been a failure, continues that course by inflicting "CORE", a program set

to make education racially leveled including rescripting our history.

Comment by Donald L. Buchanan on March 27, 2014 at 6:07pm

 Public schools are supported by taxpayer money. Last time I looked at my tax statements, local, state and federal I did not see where I as a Christian was not paying taxes to support schools. The dollars should go with the student to what ever school the child attends. As Christians have paid the taxes if we choose to send our children to a Christian school why should our tax dollars not go to that school.  People that send their children to private schools now pay school taxes and then pay tuition to the school.  Does anyone see anything right about this?  I don't.

Comment by KrisAnne Hall on March 27, 2014 at 5:51pm
Diogenes, this article is in response to the Politico complaint about vouchers being used to teach against evolution and secularism. But the principle is the same for secular schools. Vouchers will turn every private school into government schools through financial control.
Comment by Diogenes on March 27, 2014 at 5:21pm

The argument is dishonest. People who send their child to a private school seek quality result, scholastically,

as well that their child is within a safe environment of which universal discipline is part of the product. This is against communist principle in that an elite class ( middle class or abovve ) stands as a threat.

Comment by Mangus Colorado on March 27, 2014 at 5:15pm

Why not just take the money away form the Washington Political class and return ti to the Many State Legislatures and the People. This can be done by repealing the 14th, 16th and 17th amendments.

No money in DC except as limited by Article I section 8 enumerated powers to fund. This means that 13,000 lobbyist will get pink slips and slink out of town in the dark of night. The carer Senators would again work for the States Legislatures so no more unfunded mandates and Rules and Regulations tied to grants - the States will again control their schools 100% and have the money that DC skimmed off the top to make it better or to fund children with a specific amount to spend in what ever school they like. Yes there are solution if we can come together and stop playing your idea is all wrong and dangerous.

All the while we do nothing or fight we are living without a Constitutional Limit on the Federal government they do as they please and the court will not take them to the wood shed. We believe if we can repeal the offending amendment restoring our States rights and liberties we can again have a small, weak and LIMITED Federal government without agencies. Go Positive , , 


Comment by David Lininger on March 27, 2014 at 5:07pm

By the way, everyone should check to see how public schools are actually funded in their own state. It might also prove enlightening to see who actually owns them. Here in Missouri, for example, all public schools are legally owned by the State legislature. They get their money from local property taxes, state funds, and Federal funds. The exact proportion of each of those three amounts varies from District to District. The State Constitution specifies that 25% of all general revenue is to go to the public schools, but that rarely happens.

Even if a District were to decide that they wanted no part of any Federal program they might still be held to follow the Federal rules. That is because, since they are owned by the State, and the State accepts Federal money, the school must follow the Federal rules, too, even if they don't participate in the program. For example, if some District were to decide that they were no longer going to be part of the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program and would buy the food they served on the open market, the Federal government may require them to still follow all of the rules of the program, such as the small portions of what kids actually eat and the large portions of the things they just throw away.

What a crazy world we live in!

Comment by David Lininger on March 27, 2014 at 5:00pm

"People, that is, secular society will be very upset that their tax dollars are being used to teach children to have contempt for the secular world.  Notice that this journalist also used the word “hostility”.  “How can MY tax dollars be used to teach someone to be hostile to me?” is what we are about to hear.  A Christian might say the same thing about tax-funded madrasas." Of course, it is just fine to use tax dollars to teach hostility to Christianity, right?

Of course not. Government-funded schools ought to be neutral toward religion, whether it be Christianity or anything else. Unfortunately, in many places in this country that isn't the case. Almost daily we hear of another instance where a child is told to keep his or her religion out of the school.

I agree that vouchers aren't the solution. The solution is Christian parents pulling their children out of public schools that are hostile toward them and either teaching them at home or enrolling them in a Christian school. Of course, those who don't use the public schools should then feel free to vote against any proposed school tax increases.

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