Vouchers blur lines between church and state

Besides diminishing public school funds, vouchers raise another concern when it comes to the separation of church and state.

Most private schools have religious affiliations, and organizations like Americans United say that vouchers’ use of tax dollars to finance schools that teach those beliefs, rather than teach about those beliefs, threatens religious freedom.

Students should not have to go a school where they must participate in religious practices that do not align with their own beliefs for the sake of receiving a quality education.

Religion, however, is not something that should be nonexistent within schools.

“As the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly said, ‘[i]t might well be said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion, or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization.’ It would be difficult to teach art, music, literature and most social studies without considering religious influences.” (from the American Civil Liberties Union)

Teaching about religion should be considered a vital part of education. Providing students with the knowledge of how others think cultivates respect and cultural awareness among peers, which helps people to better understand one another.

Students should feel free to express their beliefs and religion at school as well, as long as their expressions do not harm or infringe upon the rights of others. Interacting with people of different faith allows students to experience other cultures first hand, thus increasing their knowledge and decreasing the likelihood that they will form stereotypes about practices they have never encountered.

Ultimately, school should be a place where students explore the world’s depths. Preventing them from encountering religion only keeps them from knowledge that would improve their cultural awareness and ability to work with others.

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