For Immediate Release: 06/30/20
PTC Leader Calls Espinoza Decision an Attack on Religious Liberty
Contact: Rev. Charles Foster Johnson
Pastors for Texas Children
Fort Worth, TX - The Supreme Court decision today in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue is an attack on God’s gift of religious liberty for all people.
In ruling that states must allow religious schools to take part in programs that provide state-sponsored scholarships, the freedom of religion for us all is jeopardized.
"For the State of Montana, or any governmental authority, to divert money from public schools to underwrite religious schools is patently wrong,” said the Rev. Charles Foster Johnson, executive director for Pastors for Children.
A tuition tax credit for religious school scholarships takes dollars away from the state treasury for public schools and diverts those dollars to subsidize private religious schools.
Why does the State of Montana, or any state, have any role or agency whatsoever in religious schools?
Public schools accept all children regardless of race, class, status, disability, sexual orientation, and religion. They are where students of all faiths and no faith encounter one another in mutual understanding, where our nation’s constitutional values of religious liberty and respect across lines of difference are lived every day. They protect marginalized students, especially poor students, disabled students, students of color, and LGBTQI+ students.
That’s why the taxing authority of state government supports them.
And why it should stay out of our church schools.
Will Montana religious schools now be required to accept all students who apply?
It is the very nature of a private school to be exclusive. Private religious schools were not formed to be religiously neutral. They are voluntary assemblies protected by the First Amendment to advance and establish religious conviction and teaching. These religious schools constitute a core religious mission. They should be protected from government intrusion.
Let private schools remain private, public schools remain public. Common sense Americans know this.
Such wisdom that has sustained our country since its inception escaped the Supreme Court today.
Pastors for Texas Children is a ministry that serves Texas’ neighborhood public schools through prayer, service, and advocacy. We support our schools by initiating school assistance programs with local congregations, promoting social justice for children, and advancing legislation that puts the needs of Texas children, families, and communities first.