For decades, school choice programs have been held back by prejudice against religious schools masquerading as “separation of church and state.”
While parents clamored for the right to send their children to better schools and voucher systems gained popularity, left-leaning politicians enforced that old prejudice by limiting voucher and scholarship programs to private schools without any religious affiliation or content.
Obviously, this is not only unconstitutional, but unfair. It limits students’ choice and closes off some of the best schools available – schools that parents might prefer for reasons of faith or moral background.
Fortunately, the Supreme Court has been unraveling that prejudice, case by case. And this week, we saw another win for school choice.
On Tuesday, the Court handed down its decision in Carson v. Makin. At issue was a program in Maine that provides tuition assistance for students to go to private school if they don’t have a public school nearby. However, the Maine voucher program excluded all religious schools. A parent who wanted to use the voucher at a Christian school challenged the constitutionality of that exclusion.
By a vote of 6-3, the Supreme Court ruled that Maine’s program violated the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment by treating religious schools differently than other schools. In essence, this was a decision that upheld religious freedom and set a path forward for more voucher programs across the nation (which will no longer be able to exclude religious schools).
If you needed more proof of how much your vote counts, this decision (and others from the Supreme Court this term) is evidence of how vital it is to vote your values. The conservative majority on the Supreme Court exists because they were nominated by Presidents who had pledged to appoint constructionist judges who respect religious freedom. They were confirmed by a Senate (sometimes after a terrible and biased circus) that knew the next election might reflect their decision.
This is a great day for the future of school choice programs. For too long, opponents of school choice have tried to use specious arguments about “church and state” to defeat vouchers or exclude Christian schools. Now, they must treat all programs equally, whether religious or not.
Of course, we still have a lot of work ahead. We must expand school choice across the country and give more parents the ability to send their children to better schools – ones that reflect their values and reject the indoctrination of the Left. But we won’t abandon the public schools either. We must also continue to oppose the spread of critical race theory, transgenderism, and other leftist ideology in the classroom.
You can help by supporting CAAP in our efforts to educate others and enact more school choice programs. Make your donation to CAAP today and join us as we work to defend faith, family, and freedom!