Venturing off the trail to protect religious freedom

2012Interfaith Alliance President sends letter calling Louisiana school voucher program bad for religious freedom
 

Our work defending religious liberty off the campaign trail is just as important as our work on the trail.

This summer, Louisiana implemented a new school voucher program that is bad for religious freedom and bad for public education as well as a blatant attack on the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Louisiana’s voucher program will use tax dollars to fund private and parochial schools and religiously-based curricula.

 

Earlier this month, Interfaith Alliance President – and Louisiana resident – Rev. Welton Gaddy sent a letter to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal expressing his disappointment, concern and, even, outrage at the new program. Rev. Gaddy called on Gov. Jindal to end the program, writing:

I was appalled to learn that private schools—funded with my taxes—will teach our children that evolution does not exist, using the fabled Loch Ness Monster as a “real” example, from textbooks that state:

“God created each type of fish, amphibian, and reptile as separate, unique animals.  Any similarities that exist among them are due to the fact that one Master Craftsmen fashioned them all.”

Let me be clear: I am not appalled that a Christian school is teaching its students that God created the Earth.  Children in my church learn that every Sunday.  I am appalled that these schools are teaching theology as science; and they’re doing so with government money, my tax dollars.  Teaching the theology of Creationism is part of the mission of religious schools, and religious education more broadly—I defend with my life’s work their right to teach future generations about their faith.  But they should not receive financial support from our government to do so.

The letter drew significant media attention, both in news stories, including in Rev. Gaddy’s hometown paper the Monroe News-Star, and online at the Associated Baptist Press, the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Huffington Post (twice!). The News-Star printed Rev. Gaddy’s letter in full as an op-ed as well.
 

What Rev. Gaddy didn’t expect when he sent the letter was how many of you had an opinion you wanted to share too. Some of you posted on the Interfaith Alliance Facebook page or shared our post about the letter. Some of you tweeted at us and some of you submitted a comment on our website. We’d like to thank all of you for your response (even if you disagreed) and we’d like to hear more from you.

Let us know what’s happening where you are. Are local politicians muddying the line between religion and government? Is there a new and questionable voucher program in your state? Or tell us what religious liberty means to you.

Contact us online, visit us at Facebook.com/interfaithalliance or find us on Twitter @intrfthalliance.
Help us protect religious freedom – on and off the campaign trail.