Reform Jewish Movement Denounces Supreme Court Decision Allowing Government Funding of Religious Education
WASHINGTON – In response to the Supreme Court decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue permitting state funding of private religious education, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference on American Rabbis and the wider Reform Movement institutions:
“We are deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate Montana’s prohibition on state funding of private religious schools. We joined an amicus brief in support of Montana’s prohibition on financial support for religious education, because not only do tuition tax credits and other types of school vouchers divert desperately needed funding from public schools, these programs also violate separation of church and state when such funding is directed towards religious schools.
“Government funding to religious schools requires taxpayers to support religious institutions and beliefs that may violate their own, something the First Amendment was intended to avoid. Conversely, such government funding is bad for religion, for with government funding comes government rules, regulations, monitoring and interference. Religious education must always be the responsibility of the family and faith community, not the government.
“Rather than implementing private school voucher programs, the government should invest in public schools to make them safer, stronger, and more equitable. All of America’s children deserve a first-rate education.”
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 850 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.RAC.org for more.