John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of BCNN1.
Back in 2015, the state legislature of Montana created a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for individuals who donate to organizations that provide scholarships to private school students. In response, the Montana Department of Revenue ruled that such a tax credit would violate the state’s version of the “Blaine Amendment,” which prohibits state funding of religious education. So, the state terminated the program altogether.
Kendra Espinoza, a single mom who works extra jobs in order to send her kids to a Christian school in Kalispell, challenged the Department of Revenue’s ruling in court. The case is currently on the Supreme Court’s docket for this term.
During oral arguments, conservative justices like Alito and Kavanaugh brought up the Court’s decision in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, which held that forcing a church school to choose between “[participating] in an otherwise available benefit program or [remaining] a religious institution” violated the Free Exercise clause.
Unsurprisingly, the liberal justices disagreed.
What was surprising is that the editorial board of the Washington Post came out on the side of Espinoza. Using scholarships at private, religious schools was not only a parent’s right, the editorial board wrote, but using them didn’t “undermine” or “harm” public education or the state, “contrary to many of the tropes advanced by those opposed to school choice.”
The Post also called out the hypocrisy of upper-middle class opponents to these kinds of programs by noting that, “People with means take for granted the ability to choose their child’s school by paying tuition or moving to communities with quality schools.” So why begrudge people like Kendra Espinoza the same opportunity?
It’s not often I find myself in complete agreement with the editorial board of the Washington Post! I’m old enough to remember when the very existence of Christian educational alternatives was threatened by government entities. Oh yeah, we are all old enough…such threats are still very much a reality, especially in California.
The truth is, government-imposed ideologies, especially so-called SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) legislation, very much threaten the future of Christian educational institutions. Still, I hold great hope for their futures, and not only because this crucial Montana case is being heard in our recently remade Supreme Court. It’s because Christians are currently bringing an incredible amount of innovation and creativity to the realm of education.
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Source: Christian Headlines