Washington — Seeking to invalidate a Louisiana school voucher program recently signed in to law by Governor Bobby Jindal, Interfaith Alliance has joined an amicus brief that challenges to the program on the grounds of religious freedom. The brief, submitted on behalf of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, the ACLU, the ACLU of Louisiana and the Interfaith Alliance, argues that the scheme will impermissibly redirect taxpayer dollars intended for public schools, to private schools who will use those funds to provide a religion-based education.
Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, who has been an outspoken critic of the voucher scheme both as president of Interfaith Alliance and in his capacity of Pastor for Preaching and Worship of Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, La. Rev. Gaddy issued the following statement:
“Louisiana’s school voucher program is bad for religious freedom and bad for public education. It allows tax dollars to be used to fund curricula infused with theology at every level and across subject matters. While not all private schools teach from a religion-based curriculum, nearly every private school available to Louisiana students is a religious school. As a pastor and resident of Louisiana myself, this issue is not merely philosophical—it is one in which I have a personal stake.”
‘Let me be clear: I am not bothered by a Christian school teaching its students the same tenets that children in my church learn every Sunday. What I find appalling is that these schools are teaching theology in science, history and math classes and, through school vouchers, are doing so with my taxes. I defend their right to teach future generations about their faith, and the right of any Louisiana citizen to choose a private religious school over a public one—but neither the parents nor the schools should receive financial support from our government to do so.”
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.