Religious freedom advocates are deeply concerned by the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision by the conservative majority in Carson v. Makin to reinterpret the Establishment Clause by requiring the use of taxpayer dollars for religious education.
“Today’s decision is a devastating blow for both religious freedom and our public school system. The guarantee that the government will not favor religion over non-religion is among our most basic constitutional principles. But with each passing week, we’re witnessing a conservative majority on the Supreme Court fiercely determined to tear down the walls that separate religion and government,” said Katy Joseph, director of policy & advocacy at Interfaith Alliance.
“Today’s ruling is yet another attempt by a far-right Court to place individual freedoms over our collective well-being. The Court applied similar logic last year by suggesting that houses of worship receive equal treatment as grocery stores and other secular spaces.”
In 2021, Interfaith Alliance joined 23 faith-based and civil rights partners in an amicus brief urging the Court to protect the separation of religion and government in school funding in this case.
“Let’s be clear: public money belongs in public schools. By not just enabling, but requiring states to funnel public money toward private religious schools, the Court has shamefully disregarded the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits the use of government funding for explicitly religious activities,” continued Joseph. “While parents may choose a religious education for their child, the notion that they can demand their neighbors pay for it is shocking.”
“Diverting taxpayer dollars toward religious schools will further starve already underfunded public school systems. Students of all backgrounds and abilities deserve the opportunity to thrive. But today, the Court has turned its back on that promise.”
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