Magazine article The Christian Century

Suit Opposes Tax Credits That Fund Religious Schools

Magazine article The Christian Century

Suit Opposes Tax Credits That Fund Religious Schools

Article excerpt

Three civil liberties organizations have filed a lawsuit challenging New Hampshire's new school-choice bill which provides scholarships funded by tax credits for underprivileged students to attend private schools.

The three--Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union--contend that the education tax credit program which took effect January 1 will divert funding from public schools. They say most of the benefit will go to religious schools, because two-thirds of the state's private-school students attend schools that indoctrinate children in a particular faith.

"This is just a backdoor voucher scheme," said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "Whether it's through a traditional voucher or a tax credit, the result is the same: taxpayers are subsidizing religious instruction."

The program allows businesses to reduce their tax liability by receiving an 85 percent tax credit in exchange for donations made to K-12 scholarship organizations, which will pay for tuition at private schools. Since there will be no state oversight of the schools receiving scholarship monies, the plaintiffs said in the suit filed January 9 that religious schools will be able to use the funds for religious instruction, indoctrination and discrimination. …

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