Funding private schools sets dangerous precedent
I am all in favor of private or parochial schools as long as those with a private or theocratic agenda are willing to pay for them. Beyond that, any tax money belonging to the public coffers should be strictly used for public schools only. Our First Amendment provides for both the freedom of religion and the freedom from religion. Using tax dollars to support religious schools violates the latter, and provides for what amounts to a public tax in support of a particular religion.
And it would not stop with Catholic schools. Standing in line for public funds would be Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Scientologists, Buddhists and any other entity that could evolve into a “religion!”
At the same time, we would be choking off funds to the public school system that serves all of us, regardless of creed.
Our founding fathers had seen the cruelty of ecclesiastic courts, forcible tithes and the tyranny of combining church and state. It was a primary reason for Jefferson to say that a “wall of separation” should exist in our country between government and religion.
Now that parochial schools are closing at a rate indicative of their dwindling numbers, our governor proposes throwing public money out as a life preserver.
This sets a very dangerous precedent. We have only to look at the radicalizing effects of religious education in the Middle East and elsewhere to know that validating them, with tax money, is downright dangerous.
I would remind Andrew Cuomo that he is not the governor of Catholic New York, but the governor of all New Yorkers.
As such he has a constitutional responsibility to reject the very legislation he is trying to shove down our throats.
Stanley R. Pietras