Letters to the Editor: Will taxpayers have to fund Scientologist schools too?
To the editor: Justice Sonia Sotomayor succinctly noted the Orwellian twist in the Supreme Court’s Carson vs. Makin decision when she said, “Today, the court leads us to a place where separation of church and state becomes a constitutional violation.”
The Constitution’s Establishment Clause was meant plainly and simply to prevent the government from favoring one religion over another, not to prevent the government from favoring secular institutions over religious ones. Denying all religious organizations funding is following the tenets and intent of the Constitution.
Providing funding to one religion and not another would be religious discrimination, but what occurred in Carson vs. Makin, a case about state funding for private and secular rural schools in Maine, was not. Allowing government funds to flow to religious schools opens the door to a demand for funding from any cult-like group with pretensions of religion.
Leaders of cult-like organizations such as Scientology are probably rubbing their hands together and cackling as they envision their plans to get government funding. God save us.
R.M. LaCarr, Mount Washington
To the editor: After reading that taxpayers may be forced to subsidize private religious education, I am furious.
More importantly, I would like to know when these institutions are going to start paying taxes. For years the Catholic Church and other religious institutions have been walking a fine line on the issue of separation of church and state.
Now, they should all pay their taxes like the rest of us.
Susie Lancaster, Los Angeles
To the editor: As a liberal and an atheist, I find it highly offensive that a religious institution receives a dime of public money. However, Carson vs. Makin is not the loss liberals believe it to be.
This decision simply grants two families the choice to use government money to pay for a religious school. Tax dollars are not going directly to a church.
Contrary to UC Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky’s claims, this case provides no basis for future plaintiffs to argue that refusing to fund religious schools impedes their free expression of religion. Moreover, many states have allowed their citizens the choice to use vouchers for religious schools since Zelman vs. Simmons-Harris in 2002.
Nevertheless, conservatives should not celebrate this decision as a win for religion. Religious organizations should not want to become reliant on government funding. Being at the mercy of public funds invites government intervention and erodes the independence so dearly guarded by churches.
Benjamin Gollin, Solana Beach