Nevada school voucher program set to funnel public funds to schools that pledge allegiance to Christian flag

The ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State have filed a lawsuit against the State of Nevada over their new school voucher law, which will direct public funds to private schools — many of which are overtly religious.

One such school, highlighted by the ACLU, places an “emphasis on teaching ‘Christian Americanism,'” but only after students have recited this pledge:

I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag and to the Savior for Whose kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen, and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe.

The United States’ Constitution makes it clear that giving public money to a school that teaches its kids that non-believers aren’t deserving of life or liberty isn’t an option. The Nevada State Constitution makes it even clearer, with a section devoted specifically to prohibiting public funding of religious education that reads: “No public funds of any kind or character whatever, State, County, or Municipal, shall be used for sectarian purpose.”

The funds awarded under the voucher program reportedly come with no strings. As Heather Weaver wrote for the ACLU today, this means that private schools that receive public funds could use them to do the following:

The Bible, via Pixabay

The Bible, via Pixabay

Some private religious schools in Nevada teach creationism and that the Bible is the literal truth, dramatically diverging from state educational standards that govern publicly funded schools. Most private religious schools also require students to take part in prayer and worship services. At one Islamic school, for example, Friday afternoon prayers are mandatory.

Moreover, private schools will be eligible to take part in the voucher program even if they discriminate in admissions and employment. Students who do not follow the school’s faith or attend the church that operates the school may be charged more in tuition. Meanwhile, some schools simply reject outright any applicant who does not subscribe to their faith.

Schools could also use voucher funds to discriminate against LGBT students and block pregnant students from access to abortion.

Sounds like sectarian purposes to me.

It’s one thing to have thoughts and feelings about Christianity, creation, prayer and abortion. It’s another thing to have those thoughts and feelings backed by your state’s tax dollars in clear violation of the law. If these schools can exist without help from the government, fine. I think it’s a shame that they teach what they teach, but fine.

But they can’t bring people who don’t believe as they do along for the ride. Both constitutions in question are remarkably clear on that point.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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13 Responses to “Nevada school voucher program set to funnel public funds to schools that pledge allegiance to Christian flag”

  1. Free2choose says:

    The good this might do for the kids is unlimited.

    If a child has special needs, a school can be created for that.
    If a child has specific interests and talents, a school can be created For that.
    If a child learns best from a specific teaching method, a school can be created for that.

    Who better to help the child make that decision, than those who know the child best.
    Almost makes me want to go back to school.

    You?

  2. ComradeRutherford says:

    Your point is well taken and completely correct, but there’s just one problem:

    “dumming down”?

    We’ve been over this a hundred times, people. Make sure you spell correctly, especially when writing a comment on Conservatives attacking education!

  3. ComradeRutherford says:

    Don’t worry, Bill, there are so many Arch-Conservatives on the state and federal supreme courts now that they will rule that it IS Constitutional. They’ll say that the language in the text could not possibly have been the author’s intent.

  4. ComradeRutherford says:

    “The United States’ Constitution makes it clear that giving public money to a school that teaches its kids that non-believers aren’t deserving of life or liberty isn’t an option. The Nevada State Constitution makes it even clearer, with a section devoted specifically to prohibiting public funding of religious education that reads: “No public funds of any kind or character whatever, State, County, or Municipal, shall be used for sectarian purpose.””

    Since when do Conservatives give a shit about the Constitution? SInce never.

  5. Silver_Witch says:

    I am pretty sure the hope is to do away with public schools completely it is an insidious way of doing away with union and dumming down the people so the 1% has a mass of people it is easy to control. Religion is the best way of controlling the people.

  6. Bill_Perdue says:

    The program is unconstitutional.

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  8. trinu says:

    From a hypocrisy stand-point, it also looks like a violation of the 2nd Commandment.

  9. BeccaM says:

    That’s my take on it as well: If parents want to intellectually stunt their children by sending them to a Christian-Taliban school, that is (unfortunately for the kids) within their rights. But not one penny of American taxpayer money should be supporting this.

  10. Bruce says:

    Yup total agreement

  11. nicho says:

    So, pretty much the GOP platform in a nutshell.

  12. Indigo says:

    You can thank Jeb! Bush for taking leadership in showing the way funnel state money to the fundie schools.

  13. Bruce says:

    This is without question a violation of state and federal law, besides being completely ridiculous.

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