The Supreme Court ruled on an important case today. In a 5-4 decision they upheld an Arizona law that provides a tax credit to citizens if they donate to a “school tuition organization.” This tax credit, called the “Private School Tax Credit Law” gives citizens somewhere between $500-$1000 dollars in a tax refund if they donate to one of these “STOs.” The real question is whether this is government support of religion. There are a few very important questions that need to be answered about this law.
First of all, how is it not government support of religion when government is providing money that supports religion. The Arizona state government is saying if you promote private education they will give you the money to do it. A tax credit means that they reduce the amount of taxes you pay. This is different from a tax deduction that only reduces your taxable income. How is that not government support of private education? It is true that not all private education is religious, but most of it is. When it gets down to the facts of the case, government should only be funding private education because it is the only way government can control the agenda. Religious schools teach only their view of the world. That’s why children brought up in religious schools may not be taught evolution for example. Government should provide education for its children without religious influence.
It would be very interesting to find out if those people who support the Arizona tax credit would support it if they heard that the money was going to Muslim schools. It shouldn’t. It also shouldn’t support Christian, Jewish, or any other religious schools. It is important that education explores world religions. It is also important that they do not show a bias. Education is something that should provide a broad worldview. It should never narrow that view to support any one viewpoint.