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 is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.