This is a recent post to Reddit which sums up exactly why, as an atheist, I am not opposed to school vouchers on constitutional grounds. Definitely my most refined thought on the topic to date so saving it here for future reference. The quoted material is from the user sansimone. S/He is reply to my example where a senior receiving social security tithes some of that money to a church.
Not the same situation at all.
Social security is a supplement paid for by employers and the employees themselves. It comes from a federal pool, and is there to provide income for those who have either retired or become disabled. School vouchers come from property taxes paid in your locality, usually by people who move to an area for its schools.
Social security is funded by taxation and operated by the government.
Vouchers would be funded by taxation and operated by the government.
Restating the specific semantics of taxation and the specific levels of government does not alter the fundamental facts that money taken from people by government & given to others to use at their discretion.
When a senior tithes, he’s doing it from his income, using money from his budget he puts aside to support his religious beliefs.
His income which is coming from the state.
Public -> State -> Individual -> Institution
The chain is exactly the same between the two. The only difference is that in the case of vouchers the funds must be spent on schooling for their children. Whereas the funds obtained from social security can be used for hookers and blow if the individual in question is so inclined.
Look, this is pretty damn clear. You, and others in this topic, are exhibiting the same blind spot of the first amendment that the religious do, just on a different clause.
To them it reads like this (snipping the end of the examples for berevity):
Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. . .
To you it reads like this:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. . .
But it reads like this:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. . .
Where the parent decides to have his child schooled is the parent’s choice. By explicitly stating that the parent’s cannot choose to send their children to a religious school they are violating the clause you’re blind to, “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” in much the same manner as if the state handed you a voucher and said that you must place your child in a religious school.
Of course what we have right now is a de facto endorsement of secular schools over religious schools. This is because, as you pointed out, the parents who want to place their children in a religious school are already funding secular schools. They have to pay extra to place their children in a school of their choice.
Look, you want the religious to stop using government to push their views on you by demanding they adhere to the Constitution? Well then it requires something of you, that you adhere to the Constitution not only when it suits your preferences but especially when it doesn’t.
Do I think religious schools are a load of crock? Damn straight, my 6 months in a religious school fucked me over academically for the rest of my school days. I detest those institutions. But my personal loathing for them does not mean I get to impose my views on others.
Vouchers are a good thing. If the main objection to them is that some people might Gasp use them in a manner to which you object then get over yourself.