Anti-Christian-School Court Ruling Overturned

In case you missed it, last weekend the Supreme Court of the United States overturned a lower court’s ruling that Arizona’s system of educational tax credits was unconstitutional. Under the system, people can donate to private schools’ tuition scholarship programs and receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for their contribution. In practice, two-thirds of the $100 million of donations to such programs went to Christian schools, and the lower court had said this amounted to an unconstitutional “establishment of religion.”

Notice the way this NPR report spins the story to imply that this system of tax credits is first-to-last a covert way for the state to support religion; it relies on the oft-repeated but inaccurate canard about tax credits or deductions being the same thing as government expenditures or subsidies, a view that implicitly affirms that all wealth belongs to the State.

The dissenters likened it to a law giving people a tax credit for purchasing crucifixes, a flawed analogy since the actual tax credit is not for a specifically religious purpose. In fact, it accomplishes a utilitarian goal by reducing the fiscal burden on the public school system because private schools operate much more efficiently; thus the average cost-per-pupil in Arizona will go down.

There is a pretty good summary of the case on the Cato Institute’s blog.

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About Dr. J

I am Professor of Humanities at Faulkner University, where I chair the Department of Humanities and direct online M.A. and Ph.D. programs based on the Great Books of Western Civilization. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy and a member of the faculty at Liberty Classroom.
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2 Responses to Anti-Christian-School Court Ruling Overturned

  1. worldtake says:

    The thing is,
    Many tax payers including me, do not want to see their taxes spent toward organizations that are exempt from taxes themselves.

  2. Dr. J says:

    I’m not sure how that’s relevant here since no tax money is being given to these schools.

    Nevertheless, your statement surprises me since it implies that you also oppose all government assistance to non-profit organizations of any sort (Red Cross, March of Dimes, United Way, American Cancer Society, etc.).

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