Americans United, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Maine filed a friend-of-the-court brief April 5 in a Maine case regarding the use of taxpayer funds to pay tuition at schools that indoctrinate children in religion.
The case, Carson v. Makin, was filed in federal court by the Institute for Justice and the First Liberty Institute, two pro-voucher groups that are demanding that Maine's taxpayer-funded tuition program pay for religious instruction in the Bangor Christian Schools in Bangor and at the Temple Academy in Waterville. Both schools would use the taxpayer-funded tuition to teach students religious doctrine and train them in religious rites and observances.
"Forcing Maine residents to pay for religious education--particularly at private schools that can discriminate against students--is a fundamental violation of religious freedom," said Alex J. Luchenitser, AU's associate legal director. "The court should reject this lawsuit and maintain the state's current protections that ensure that taxpayers aren't compelled to support religious beliefs with which they may not agree."
AU and the ACLU oppose the use of taxpayer-funded tuition programs at schools that would use public funds for religious activities and purposes. The ACLU and AU assert that states have longstanding, traditional interests in not funding religious training, and that it would be a perversion of the U.S. Constitution to force states to fund religious education.
The ACLU and AU further oppose the use of taxpayer funds to support religious discrimination...