By BJC Staff Reports
Funneling taxpayer funds to religious schools through a voucher program compromises religious liberty, according to a brief filed at the Nevada Supreme Court and joined by the Baptist Joint Committee.
Nevada’s school voucher program allows public dollars to flow to private schools, including religious schools, by diverting money from the state’s designated public education fund. The diverted money can be used for certain education expenses, including tuition at private religious schools and religious instructional material for those schools.
“Funding religious schools with taxpayer money can violate the consciences of citizens who disagree with their teachings,” said BJC Associate General Counsel Jennifer Hawks. “Parents have the right to choose a religious education for their children but not the right to insist that taxpayers pay for it through any type of voucher program.”
The brief notes how the separation of church and state “recognizes that governmental support for and funding of religion corrodes true belief, makes religious denominations and houses of worship beholden to the state, and places subtle – or not so subtle – coercive pressure on individuals and groups to conform.”
The Hindu American Foundation also joined the brief in the case of Duncan v. Nevada, which was heard by the Nevada Supreme Court on July 29. A decision is expected soon.