The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment forbids the United States from sponsoring a state church. The Free Exercise Clause guarantees individual citizens the right to practice their religions. Many of the difficulties surrounding church/state issues stem from attempts to respect both of these clauses at the same time.
The textbook mentions that teaching creationism in taxpayer-funded schools where â€œmanyâ€ students share those views seems like a clear violation of the nonreligious studentsâ€™ freedom of religion. It may be worth discussing the more complicated case of school vouchers, which can provide taxpayer-funded assistance for students to attend private schools.
In 2012, for example, families in Louisiana can use vouchers to send students to Eternity Christian Academy (and other schools), which uses a textbook that includes the following passage:
â€œCould a fish have developed into a dinosaur? As astonishing as it may seem, many evolutionists theorize that fish evolved into amphibians and amphibians into reptiles. This gradual change from fish to reptiles has no scientific basis. No transitional fossils have been or ever will be discovered because God created each type of fish, amphibian, and reptile as separate, unique animals. Any similarities that exist among them are due to the fact that one Master Craftsman fashioned them all.â€
Should this use of school vouchers be upheld or rejected on the grounds of religious freedom?
Should the use of school vouchers be upheld or rejected on the grounds of separation of church and state?
Discuss the ethical principle that applies to this debate.
Your deliverable should be 2 and half pages long, including a title and a reference page