The late June Supreme Court decision in favor of vouchers for private schools is likely to have favorable repercussions for faith-based groups seeking government support.
A late June decision by the Supreme Court upheld that public money can support religious education as long as parents are given the choice of where to send their children to school. In the New York Times (June 28), legal expert Jeffrey Rosen writes that the court decision basically declared that the “era of strict separation between church and state is over.”
Rosen contrasts the decision with the “old-line” strict separationism represented by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in California, which ruled in June that the Pledge of Allegiance in its reference to one nation “under God” violated the First Amendment. Another article in the Times notes that the voucher decision “comes at a time when the government is already moving to lift the barriers to using tax money for religious programs.
Such programs as charitable choice often aroused suspicions that they violated the First Amendment. But the decision has bolstered religious advocates who are “now planning to push efforts to channel an increasing amount of public money into other religious programs, including charities and social services, hospitals and even foreign aid missions,” writes Laurie Goodstein.