Here’s yet another example of Christian groups demanding government funding and recognition and then freaking out at the idea that a Muslim group is eligible for the same benefits. Louisiana has a new law that allows vouchers for private schools, which they thought was great when they thought it would only give money to Christian schools. But then a Muslim academy applied for the same thing and, well, the result was predictable.
Rep. Kenneth Havard, R-Jackson, objected to including the Islamic School of Greater New Orleans in a list of schools approved by the education department to accept as many as 38 voucher students. Havard said he wouldn’t support any spending plan that “will fund Islamic teaching.”
“I won’t go back home and explain to my people that I supported this,” he said.
“It’ll be the Church of Scientology next year,” said Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin.
Yep, it might be. And there are two alternatives: You can either not fund religious schools at all through vouchers, or you have to fund any religious school with students who use them. What you can’t do, no matter how much you want to, is say that only Christian schools get the money. It’s that pesky First Amendment thing you might have heard of (not to mention the 14th Amendment).
And as ThinkProgress shows, Christian schools are gonna make a windfall on this:
The Islamic School of Greater New Orleans has since withdrawn its request for vouchers. But Havard’s concern for religious teaching being funded by taxpayer dollars seems to extend only so far. Reuters reported earlier this month that some of the parochial schools that stand to benefit the most intersperse biblical teachings directly into math, science and reading curricula, often at the expense of an actual education.
New Living World, which says it can accept more than 300 vouchers, is one such school. The campus has no library, and classrooms are often adorned with little more than a TV on which biblically-themed DVDs recite the day’s lesson. Another, The Upperroom Bible Church Academy, is housed in a windowless building with no playground. They can accept more than 200 students, and would stand to receive as much as $1.8 million. Eternity Christian Academy (135 vouchers) doesn’t permit the teaching of evolution.
Taxpayer funding for Christian schools is awesome; taxpayer funding for Muslim schools? Outrageous! Who would ever think of such a thing!