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No Subsidy for Church-Related Day Care, Congress Is Urged

From Religious News Service

A lawyer for a Washington-based Baptist lobby has urged Congress to reject proposals to subsidize religiously oriented day-care centers in favor of tax breaks for parents.

Oliver S. Thomas, general counsel for the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, told the Senate Finance and House Education and Labor committees that the tax code provides a more constitutionally acceptable means of assisting parents whose children attend church day-care centers than direct subsidies to such centers.

The lawyer cited last year’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bowen v. Kendrick, which states that pervasively sectarian institutions may not participate in a federally funded program of education and social welfare services.

“Congress, understandably, may wish to assist parents whose children, by choice or necessity, will attend church child-care centers, but government subsidies to those centers are not the answer,” Thomas said.

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