Does Jesus belong in public school classrooms?
Thanks to a non-binding legal opinion from Oklahoma’s departing Attorney General John O’Connor, churches in the Sooner State might be operating public charter schools in the near future.
The 15-page memo relies on three recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that ruled in favor of religious schools. Those rulings were cheered by faith groups, while critics warned the decisions will erode the separation of church and state.
The next step for faith-based organizations in Oklahoma is to apply for taxpayer funds to use towards charter schools. However, opponents worry about what this will mean for secular education.
Oklahoma Leaders Voice Support
Among the backers of the move toward taxpayer-funded religious schools is Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, who supported the legal opinion saying it “rightfully defends parents, education freedom, and religious liberty in Oklahoma. Ultimately, government takes a backseat to parents who get to determine the best learning environment for their child.”
The newly-elected Superintendent of Oklahoma, Ryan Walters also called the opinion “the right decision for Oklahomans.”
It should also be noted that O’Connor, the co-author of the opinion, has previously drawn criticism from secular groups for making comments such as, “there's no such thing as an ideal godless America," and that Americans must stand “very vigorously... in favor of a God-based country."
Indeed, there was a time in America when religion in public school classrooms wasn’t out of the ordinary. However, after a decades-long push toward secularization, the line between church and state in public education looked especially robust.
Bringing faith back into the classroom would represent a sharp shift to this trend.
So, how did we get here?
The History of Charter Schools
Charter schools originated in the 1970s as an idea for teachers to set up “charters” with their local school boards in order to find new approaches to education of their students. Just like public schools, tuition is free and the school is funded by taxpayers, but charter schools are granted more freedom in their methodology and curriculum.
In return, charter schools are supposed to be held to higher accountability standards for their students’ performance. However, evidence from the US Department of Education suggests that isn’t always the case.
Numerous studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of charter schools in educating students. The results have been mixed.
Some studies have found that charter schools can produce better student test scores, but that isn’t always the case. Plus, critics say charter schools can divert funding away from public schools, causing a drain on the traditional education system.
However, one of the largest concerns with charter schools involves transparency. Because they are run by private organizations, some of which operate a for-profit model, critics argue that charter schools are more likely to exploit students and taxpayers alike.
Gaining a Legal Foothold
While the Oklahoma opinion doesn’t change the charter school landscape overnight, it is a serious step forward, says Nicole Stelle Garnett, a University of Notre Dame law professor who is also an influential supporter of the religious charter school movement.
She points out that states could write or amend laws so that religious charter schools can exist or a lawyer could sue on behalf of a school that wishes to incorporate a religious curriculum.
According to Garnett, “the policy implications are huge because this is the first state that is going to allow religious charter schools.
It seems clear that legal decisions and court fights are on the horizon, as churches begin putting the time and effort into setting up these publicly-funded religious charter schools.
With them will come a renewed constitutional debate over the separation of church and state.
What About Separating Church and State?
Not everyone is celebrating the developments in Oklahoma. Among those speaking out against religious charter schools is Derek Black, an education and civil rights professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law.
In a recent interview, Black argued that “It is a whole other ballgame for the state to instruct children on religious doctrine and teach it as truth… That’s what we’re talking about here: State dollars in public schools, delivering instruction to children preaching religion as a way of life that must be adhered to. That’s staggering.”
Many commenters on social media echoed similar sentiments, some more scathing than others.
“Apparently we're headed for a theocracy,” lamented one user.
“Tax the churches, then. Take public funds? Then pay public taxes,” added another.
One commenter argued, “Taxpayers should demand their freedom from religion by withholding their share of tax money that goes to the cultist schools.”
What do you think? Should religious charter schools be allowed to use taxpayer funds? Or does that violate the separation of church and state?
I would be enraged if my taxes were going to be used to fund religious indoctrination. The charter school system is heavily flawed as it is and allowing religious organizations to get in on the exploitation of government funding when they don't even pay taxes in the first place would be horrible for education in our country. Oklahoma is already one of the worst states in America in terms of education and this will only serve to further dumb-down the population, which, when you consider that lower educated areas are more likely to vote Republican, is probably the exact goal of this Republican AG.
Tom, you are only fooling yourself if you truly believe the garbage you're spewing. Our government was founded on Religious freedom. That is why so many flocked to the New World in the first place, for religious freedom. Considering that this is a truthful fact, and that your opinion is only that, "an opinion", it is no more wrong for the government to fund a Religious Charter School than it is for the government to fund A Public School that allows Drag Queen Story Hour and Satanic after school clubs. Please be aware that Religious Schools generally teach that we should love each other as we love ourselves and as God loves each of us.
Linda, Drag Queen Story Hour happens in public libraries. It is an optional thing. No children and forced to sit down and be indoctrinated like they are in private religious schools. If you don't like it, don't go. The good thing about DQSH is that the kids are in a safe environment and the parents are with them so nothing shady happens there. Unlike church, where thousand upon thousands of instances of sexual abuse happen, including plenty of grooming (a la the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Church as the worst offenders). Priests in those denominations should have to use their own seperate restrooms. I don't want my kids to be in such a vulnerable space with these perverts to prey on them, which is also why I don't take them to church or religious private school. These perverts want special rights because of their lifestyle choices but they are just that, choices. They weren't born that way, they chose that lifestyle. If they want to be perverts then whatever, that's their business but don't flaunt it, and keep kids out of it! One last thing, Linda. If you are fine with not only Christian clubs but entire schools dedicated to grooming and indoctrination, but have a problem with another religion having a club, you are an enemey of the religious freedom you were so high up on your horse about at the beginning of your comment. You want tyranny of one religion over all others. Your comment undermines itself.
Drag Queens have also been brought into some of the Public Schools, and it has not been an optional thing (as you called it) and Parents were not notified that this was happening, and Satanic Clubs are not Religious clubs as stated by an individual who runs and attends such a club. Therefore, I am not an enemy of Religious Freedom as you tried to make me out to be, because the Satanic Clubs have nothing to do with Religion. And although you are right about the fact that there have been Preists that have been Perverts, there are also many so called transgender people in Public Schools using the Public Restrooms and attacking the opposite gender and even the same gender students. So, once again your "OPINION" does not stand up to the facts. Churches, schools and all public and private areas should be safe havens for our children but sad to say, that doesn't necessarily make it so. And one last thing, I am in favor of Religious Freedom for everyone of all faiths.
Any religious institution (church, school, camp, etc) that excepts tax payer monies, should lose their tax exempt status.
there is a reason there are parochial schools, for people who don't want their kids educated in a public, secular setting where things like science, evolution, facts and truths are taught. parochial schools are for parents who want to blindfold, brainwash and restrict their children's exposure to anything secular.
I am all for what OK is proposing/doing. we need to speed up what is eventually going to happen and that is, force SCOTUS to decide once and for all if we are going to be a constitutional republic or a theocracy. their decision will once and for all inform everyone in this country that our government and judicial system is no longer fair and impartial and is/or will become an xtian theocracy.
Let The Revolution Begin
It’s about time government fund religious schools teaching Satanic religious beliefs as well as Voodoo, and Witchcraft. I’m all for it.
GOOD POST Mr. Spindler, TOO MUCH CORRUPTION in EVERY SENSE, ANYWHERE the WORD GOD is POSTED LIKE on MONEY is CORRUPTION in THE COURTS, EVERYWHERE !!!
Ok once again for the members of the peanut party who believe in this myth of Separation of church and state. The constitution was made supreme law of the land in 1787. The very FIRST mention of this myth was in a letter from Jefferson to his Danbury Conn Detractors in 1802, a full 15 YEARS AFTER the constitution was made supreme law. What this means for the people who still either dont or wont understand is that it requires a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT for this to be included in the Constitution and not once since 1787 has one ever been suggested or brought to the states for a vote. And implications or beliefs in what this means does not count and wont count in a court of law or history. Now as for public funding of religious schools, this is already done and it happens every day. When you have a state that gives X amount of money to educate a student, when that student moves to a private or religious school, that state money for the student FOLLOWS the student to their new school! Which means you are already funding private and religious schools, its called school choice and the SCOTUS has already ruled this as constitutional.
So whine all you want but it is already happening and you cant change it, nor can you base your beliefs on a myth that is not and never has been in the constitution And this has been law for over 235 years.
" never has granted a separation of government and religion" fine lets see Muslim /Pagans and all non Christians get in government and start to rule things based on their religions the way all these Christians try doing to the rest of us.
prove they are doing it. Every law out there has and is based on a religious belief and that is historical fact. so if you want to complain then remove ALL laws and start over. Other wise you have to deal with the laws the way they are written, like it or not.
What I find funny is what the reaction to this taxpayer funding when the Christian right finds out that Islamic madrasa's will be formed. I can hear the scream going up right now.
BTW the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and that has been expanded to mean, and logically so, freedom from religion. I do not have freedom from religion (should I want to) if I am forced to contribute via taxes to a religion. It has always bothered me that I must pay more property tax to support services going to religious institutions. As I understand the reasoning behind not paying property taxes is the SCOTUS ruled the power to tax is the power to destroy and because of that no taxes can be levied. I will go along with the no tax reluctantly but there is nothing in the Constitution requiring services be provide to those who do not pay taxes.
Yes it does grant freedom of religion, but it does not and never has granted a separation of government and religion. And no it has never been expanded to anything as to do that you WILL have to have a constitutional amendment and one has never been presented, and no no government agency nor court can expand what the Constitution says, nowhere in articles 1-3 do they have that authority so I dont know where you are getting this information from or basing it on.
And surprisingly I agree with you on some of what you say. If I dont use the thing, I should not have to pay for it ie schools. I have not used a school in well over 50 years and have no children in a school so why am I having to pay for them. On the other hand churches and charities receive tax monies and because while I dont use them, I can see the need for them so I have no problem in paying for them via charities or government grants.
If the schools were more even with their teachings and treatment of students I would also not object to paying for them. But when they treat school athletes far better then they treat a normal student or a member of the Honor society, then we have a problem. When the schools whine and cry for an increase in taxes claiming its for the students, only later to admit that over 85% of all the levies they get go tword benefits and bonuses and pay of the staff and teachers and administrators, then I have a problem with it. Or when you have school board members who vote for these increases and have children in the system, then I have a problem with it as you dont know if they are voting for the children or to benefit their children.
So if you have a problem with churches and charities getting government money, then you need to petition Congress to change the meaning of charities. Otherwise that isnt going to happen. And finally as for Muslums building their schools and getting money from the government to do so...I have no problem with that either. As long as they are not trying to radicalize the members or start making demands on neighboring farms that may have pigs there before they started building. if they are a good neighbor then there should be nothing to complain about
Your argument is useless since you also base your beliefs on a myth!! If you want a theocracy, which it sounds like you do, move to the middle east!!! You don't belong here!!!!
Ok martin, PROVE its a myth. You can no more prove that their isnt a deity then I can steadfastly prove there is, so your rant is nothing more then your opinion. Nice hysterical tirade but it does not amount to much more then passing gas in a high wind.
And I belong here far more then you ever will. My father is Cherokee Indian and so am I. I can trace my fathers family clear back to the Dawes Roll. Now since you clearly cant seem to understand that, it means my fathers family was here long before your family came over on the boats. And you do know that our laws were used to be part of the US Constitution...right? Oh wait, you didnt? Not surprising after reading your education level.
Your ignorance is amazing!! I am also native, so your ignorant comment about my family coming over on boats is total trash!! And I know that not only the laws, but the constitution, are based on the Gayanashegowa....not any christian junk! Plus my education level is far above what you think. The difference is that I don't have the arrogance about it that you seem to have. As far as your beliefs, all abrahamic religions are based on jews myths. That's a proven fact
Well said, Maximillian. Daniel often tries to come across as a Johnny-know-all, with his arrogance. Thank you for your comment.
AH ! YER ALL FULL of B S !
Have a wonderful festive season, John. 🤗
Sorry Lion, but I have proved you wrong more times then I can count, and thats why you try and claim I am wrong but even history says you are incorrect. https://www.pbs.org/native-america/blogs/native-voices/how-the-iroquois-great-law-of-peace-shaped-us-democracy/
Comment removed by user.
I’m so sorry your ability to count is so limited. Try not to worry about it, I’m sure your ego can be very difficult to overcome at times.
Have a wonderful Pagan festive season, Daniel.🎄🤗
I am so sorry that you refuse to accept facts Lion. Merry Christmas
No lion, I come across as intelligent as I use facts and valid links to back me up and I personally dont care if it offends someone or not. If their beliefs or statements are this flimsy then they deserve what they get
And you are so full of it your eyes are brown, guess you dont even know your own history
Sure you are...and the moon is made of green cheese. I can document my ancestor clear back to the Dawes roll.not to mention I am clearly listed as Cherokee with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in DC. Can you make the same claim? I highly doubt it. Nice try
The Burden of Proof states that you cannot prove a negative. But you already knew that.
And this is why I laugh at the people who insist there is no deity, they can no more prove there isnt then I can prove there is, thats why its called FAITH
Just because you say that does not mean it is true. Again, the burden of Proof states that you cannot prove a negative. I didn't make that up, it's a real thing.
wow, you must get very angry when you are proved wrong so many times Rev B
No one's disproven anything I've said so far. But you don't know what proof is, so I get why you don't understand. I mean I've proven you wrong with the burden of proof, but that doesn't make you angry, right? It just means you've learned something.
Just did Rev B. You just posted this "Just because you say that does not mean its true" You have to BELIEVE that there isnt a Deity, just like others of different faiths believe there is. You cant have it both ways, so either you are saying there isnt a Deity or you are saying there is, and if there is then whats all your fussing about, and if there inst then why are you even here with the title of Reverend which is a religious title.
I can answer one part of that mess. "What am I fussing about" I'm not "fussing" about anything, I am simply messing with YOU because it is so much fun. :D
We don’t insist there is no deity, Daniel, what we say is, there is insufficient evidence to prove that that any deity is real. Just like there is insufficient evidence to prove that fairies are real, or that Sasquatch is real, or that the Loch Ness monster is real, but with your logic, I assume you think all of these do exist.
and there is just as much insufficient evidence to prove there isnt a Deity Lion. Thats why its called faith.
Faith = the belief in something that does not exist.
No Faith is believing in something that you cant prove. At least get your definitions correct.
The problem you dont seem to or are unwilling to understand is nobody cares if you disagree or not, Deal with it
Ohhh! so you don't have any facts then, just faith? Got it!
I'm just curious if you also have faith that fairies are real? If not, how do you determine where to place your faith, and where not to place your faith?
Is it any different to those who decide to place their faith in the Book of Mormon for instance, or some other religion?
Can I honestly say that faeries are not real? Nope I cannot, But I am not going to go around making fun of or insulting people who do think they are real. And do I have a problem with Mormons believing the way they do? Nope I do not. And no I have never made fun of any group that has religious beliefs or claimed that they were wrong as the ONLY way we will know for sure is after we die. If there is nothing then I will be remembered for all the good works I am doing and the help I give people on my own. If there is something after death (and I believe there is) then I will be rewarded for living my life like I have been. Does this take away from what you believe? nope it does not. So I dont understand your question or how it applies.
It’s totally okay, Daniel, that you don’t understand my question, or how it applies.
Happy New Year.
And you just proved that you dont understand what you have been saying all along.
Nope, you just proved you don’t understand logic and reason. You obviously are extremely gullible if you believe in imaginary things with no evidence. That’s okay, Daniel. It’s clear you don’t understand, even though you have convinced yourself you do, by insisting others don’t understand.
When you have some REAL facts about the efficacy of your deity, get back with me. Until then we have no choice to but accept you don’t understand logic and reason. You are of course no different to those that believe in Thor, or Vishnu, or any other imaginary deity that people like to think is real.
Truly there is something wrong with the US if we cannot leave religion at the door when we enter government service or an institution of learning. There is persecution of all religions that are not Christian, yet we are supposed to be a secular nation when it comes to government. This is happening in other countries, Turkey now has a religious government run by a man who wants to have full control and is getting it by the religious people, that is what is happening here and it must be stopped. The Supreme Court is now run by the religious which is only going to make things worse.
Secular? says who? We have Muslums who serve in Congress and High Office. We have Christians and jewish members who serve in high office and congress. We have atheist, agnostic (both of which have been ruled as a religion by SCOTUS) We even have Buddhists who serve in Congress...so why should any person be required to leave their religions at the door over a myth that has never been part of the Constitution?
Well stated, my friend. The left uses the public school system to indoctrinate future generations to their leftist agendas. They can't stand the thought of parents taking control of their children's education, especially when they move them to parochial schools. Heaven forbid they would want their kids thought morality, respect for life, and love of country.
"Heaven forbid they would want their kids thought morality, respect for life, and love of country."
That's exactly why we DON'T want our kids involved in religion.
To everyone screaming separation of Church and State, here is a explanation of the law
Separation of church and state is the idea that government should remain neutral toward all religions and not officially recognize or favor any one religion.
In the separation of church and state, church refers to religion in general, while state refers to the government.
In the United States, the First Amendment of the Constitution ensures freedom of religion. This means that the government cannot give special treatment to one religion at the expense of other religions. It also can’t unfairly punish one specific religion. Americans are free to practice any religion they want or to practice no religion at all.
The First Amendment also forbids the government from establishing a state religion in what is known as the Establishment Clause. Over the centuries, courts and scholars have interpreted the Establishment Clause to mean that the government should be entirely neutral in regards to religion and must maintain a separation of church and state.
In practice, this means that the government cannot establish a national religion. It also means that the government cannot force citizens to practice a specific religion nor force churches to perform acts that go against their religion. This is why, for example, an American Catholic church can refuse to perform a same-sex marriage even though American law recognizes same-sex marriage as legal.
And just as religion is free from the command of the government, the government is free from the command of religious groups. For example, the United States government does not have to follow any religious scripture or laws. The government is free to pass any law it wants, even if the law conflicts with a religious commandment.
I think you misspelled the Governor's name, the first "t" should be an "h". Enough said.
If public schools stuck to reading, writing and arithmetic I would probably oppose using tax payers money to fund private schools, but that is not the case. Public schools expose children to subjects that are inappropriate according to some parents. And it is getting worse. I don't want my children exposed to theories that conflict with what I believe. This is about private schools, not church. What is being taught in public schools is just as much of a "religion" as what is being taught in private schools. As long as private schools (or home schooling) meet or exceed set standards give parents a break.
The majority of experiences that people are scared of being taught in school are the subjects that should be taught. How do we get rid of bigotry and hatred if the children are not taught about others and why they deserve to be part of a society. There is nothing wrong with people being different, in fact it is what is needed. Yours is not the only way and when you start to believe that is when order crashes. Look at the Supreme Court, Trump and the Conservatives for examples. What do they really want?
It’s a violation of church & state. Churches who involve themselves in schools or politics should pay taxes. Religious schools should be private and funded as such. If you allow religion in public schools, which religion? It would be impossible to include every different religion and that would only create more issues.
Yup. And here is where to report the churches that are breaking the law: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/irs-complaint-process-tax-exempt-organizations
And here is the law, before someone tries to argue there isn't one: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/charities-churches-and-politics
never has been a "separation of church and state" Constitution was ratified in 1787 and the first mention of this myth was in 1802, a good 15 years AFTER the ratification of the Constitution, meaning for this myth to be in the constitution it would take a constitutional amendment, not a letter from the President to his baptist detractors. Its clear you failed history
I love how you keep repeating this nonsense and everyone ignores you.
really? you must believe me as you keep responding to me.
You keep responding to me too, therefore you must believe me.
not nonsense child, its fact and if you had passed history in grade school you would know this
I love you turn to name calling after being proven wrong. I win!
First off, I'm for some form of school voucher Program where parents have the options of sending their kids to the school that can give them the best education.
The situation we have with underperforming public schools and some of the nations largest school districts where underperforming teachers cannot be fired is ridiculous. And apparently throwing more money at the problem is not the solution.
The second issue here is that although certain schools that are eligible for this may be religious in nature, parents are NOT forced to send their children to them like they are traditional public schools. To put it another way, nobody (except maybe their parents) is going to force these kids to attend schools with religious overtones.
So if you don't like this, and you're in Oklahoma, do not send your kid to one of those schools. If you can find a performing school without the religious overtones that satisfies your requirements, then go for it.
Our school system in this country is one of the classic examples of When government is involved in something it breeds mediocrity.
We are slipping back to a very abusive time in our history... If people do not take time to learn they will allow for it to be worse.
It's about time God was put back into education. I know some of you left wingers can't stand the thought, but there it is.
You can put your god in your education if you choose to. That's what's great about this country. We have the right NOT to have to be subjected to your mythology. That's what's great about this country.
Is that what the Commandments call 'bearing false witness'?
Certainly, it is legal for a church to operate a school which receives tax-money. "Separation of Church and State" is addressed in the Bill of Rights: governments may not establish state religions. A school operated by a church is a far cry from a state religion.
Except that the Constitution which you clearly revere in its original unrevised form, never uses the phrase 'establish a state religion', as we all studied in grade school.
'Establishment', is not a verb... and just because words share some letters, does not always make them interchangeable.
The relevance to this topic is that vouchers would have to be given equitably to Islamic madrassas, Scientology indoctrination centers and Universal Life Church ordained institutes of learning... among hundreds of others.
Schools with religious as a basic pillar funded with government/taxpayer money. Religious organizations should not be tax-exempt nor receive taxpayer money. I believe very strongly in the separation of church and state.
so you believe in something that does not and never has existed?
Hey, just like you, Daniel!
I remember when every morning there was time for prayer in school and I can tell you it was a total different environment in school than. A lot less violence and a lot more respect. I think prayer would be a move in the right direction for the schools.
The parents of these kids are taxpayers. Taxes are being paid to public educational institutions that are not educating the kids but are just indoctrinating them in woke thought without caring about creating a student who will be a productive citizen. As a result, public schools are putting out ill prepared graduates for what life will require from them. Charter, no matter if secular or religious, both put out better students as a whole according to the test scores. This is why Vouchers are so important. Why should a tax paying parent be required to sent their kid to a non performing school when they can send their kid to one who will actually teach the student. This is the best way to adhere to separation of church & state. Also, Athisism, in itself, is a religion. A Christian parent shouldn't be forced to send their kid to a school that doesn't teach their values. We don't put lambs into lion cages unless we are feeding the Lion.
Time to start homeschooling our kids.
I live in Oklahoma and homeschool my child. I pay tax dollars for education and still pay out of pocket for education. I feel I should be able to use the tax dollars I pay.
I say be allowed to teach about religions, all of them, but also make it known that everyone has their own opinions. Nobody is right or wrong when teaching it. "This is what this religion does, that is what this one does/believes" leave it open ended. Not focusing on any religion over another.