A battle has been won (for now) in Douglas County, Colorado; but the war is certainly not over. I’m talking about the fight over Douglas County’s school voucher program. We, here at the Interfaith Alliance, have been involved in cases such as these, and are simply exuberant over this news. This victory comes in the form of a permanent injunction from Denver District Court Judge Michael A. Martinez. Judge Martinez issued the following resounding statement regarding his decision:
“This evidence includes testimony from parents who reside in Douglas County, administrators from the Private School Partners, and employees of the Douglas County School District, confirming that the Scholarship Program, among other things: (1) requires participating students to attend religious services and receive religious instruction; (2) provides aid to churches and religious institutions; and, (3) utilizes religious tests or qualifications for admission into partner schools and, consequently, into the Choice Scholarship School. Allowing the program to continue to move forward with students attending the Private School Partners and Defendants distributing taxpayer funds to support the Scholarship Program violates Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights and, therefore, presents a danger that is real, immediate, and irreparable to Plaintiffs.”
Amen to that!
Providing such financial incentives, in short, establishes an inappropriate relationship between institutions of religion and government that should remain separate, and thriving. Instead of providing financial incentives for parents to remove their children from public school and send them to sectarian religious schools, funds should be used, instead, to improve the public schools in question.
Several great organizations moved this case and the plight of the plaintiffs forward and for that we owe a huge “congratulations!” to the ACLU of Colorado, The Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado (who was a plaintiff in the case). Now on to the next case, which has already popped up in Ohio!
The Interfaith Alliance works to end school voucher programs. See our previous blog post about school voucher programs.