Group of Texas Pastors, Including Ed Young and Robert Jeffress, File Brief In Support of Public Education

Pastor Robert Jeffress inside the sanctuary at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. (PHOTO: COURTESY OF FIRST BAPTIST DALLAS)
Pastor Robert Jeffress inside the sanctuary at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.

Pastors for Texas Children, a group that supports public education, says diverting taxpayer funds to private religious schools would harm both religious and public schools.

A group of Texas pastors who support public education warned that a proposal to divert public funds to private schools would create a “parallel private system of education” supported by taxpayers in a brief filed Sept. 1 in the Supreme Court of Texas.

Pastors for Texas Children, an organization started by longtime Baptist minister Charles Foster Johnson in 2013, said the 1,200 faith leaders and 500 churches it represents “could not disagree more” with an earlier brief filed by the U.S. Pastor Council suggesting that an “efficient system” of public education must include vouchers and other means of redirecting government money to religious schools.

“The last thing our fine public schools need is more dollars drained away from them, and the last thing our fine private schools need is the government intervention and oversight that will inevitably and necessarily follow the public money they receive,” the brief argues.

The U.S. Pastor Council — with Texas leadership including pastors Ed Young of Second Baptist Church in Houston, Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas and Kie Bowman of Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin — argued in a brief Aug. 18 that denying education funds to church-run private schools is a form of “religious bigotry.”

Pastors for Texas Children, however, claims the exclusion of religious schools from the public education system is not a violation of religious liberty.

“The current public school system does not force anyone to attend a public school or obtain a secular education,” the brief states. “Private religious education is available to anyone who cherishes it enough to bear the cost. We prefer the system where those who love and cherish a faith have to bear the cost of that faith. That is the way faith flourishes.”

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SOURCE: Baptist News Global
Bob Allen

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