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Letters to the Editor: The Supreme Court futher erodes the wall between church and state

Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is seen in Washington on June 29.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

To the editor: The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-to-4 decision, has said that states may not exclude private religious schools if they give tuition grants that support other nonsectarial private schools.

I am an atheist. I would not be completely opposed to some tuition aid going to secular private schools, although I am an ardent supporter of public education. But the minute any of my tax money goes to sectarian schools, I would be angry.

Any and all religion should be kept in the private domain. Science, reason, common sense and observation make clear to me the correctness of my position.

Jane Roberts, Redlands

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To the editor: Your articles refer to “religious schools.” There is a difference between the terms “religious schools” and “schools operated by the religious organizations.”

Religious schools teach students to become ministers or priests. Schools operated by religious organizations primarily teach as any secular school does, except they include instruction in religion.

My two sons attended such a high school, and they did not become priests because of that instruction. They received a well-rounded education consisting of all subjects that are taught in secular schools but also received some instruction on basic religion philosophy. Both were accepted into a well-regarded university.

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It is important when referring to such schools that the correct terminology is used so any bias against religion can be eliminated.

John T. Kirages, Arcadia

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To the editor: Under this Supreme Court, our constitutional right of freedom of religion can be compared to a man sitting in the chair of a bad barber — it is getting chopped at and not looking very good.

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With no sense of irony, the court ruled that a state forbidding itself from subsidizing religious education but not secular private education amounts to “discrimination.” Overlooked is the fact that a taxpayer should never be required to finance religious indoctrination of any sort.

The court putting its thumb on religious scales was evident in its recent decisions having to do with a cake maker and the Hobby Lobby store chain, in which the justices interpreted freedom of religion to mean the freedom to impose one’s religious beliefs on others.

Businesses were allowed to deny services to people who did not follow the tenets of their owners’ religions regarding homosexuality and birth control. A gay couple could be denied a wedding cake, and employees could be denied contraception.

These are disturbing decisions.

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Marcia Goldstein, Laguna Woods


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