Louisiana State Legislator Shocked To Discover Religious Freedom Includes Muslims
A Louisiana State Legislator who was a strong supporter of Governor Bobby Jindal’s recently passed school voucher program, which includes provisions that allow parents to use the vouchers they would receive for religiously-affiliated schools, is now second guessing her support after realizing that the program doesn’t just apply to Christian schools: [Free registration required at link]
WATSON — Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Watson, says she had no idea that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s overhaul of the state’s educational system might mean taxpayer support of Muslim schools.
“I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools,” the District 64 Representative said Monday.
“I liked the idea of giving parents the option of sending their children to a public school or a Christian school,” Hodges said.
Hodges mistakenly assumed that “religious” meant “Christian.”
During debate over the MFP (Minimum Foundation Program) funding formula, Hodges learned more about the consequences of the educational changes. She voted against the new MFP funding formula; Schexnayder voted for it.
“Unfortunately it will not be limited to the Founders’ religion,” Hodges said. “We need to insure that it does not open the door to fund radical Islam schools. There are a thousand Muslim schools that have sprung up recently. I do not support using public funds for teaching Islam anywhere here in Louisiana.”
Yea, I always get the words “religious” and “Christian” mixed up too Representative Hodges.
These objections notwithstanding, the bill was passed in the law and the program will go into effect. There is already talk of lawsuits being filed to challenge to religious schools being eligible for the program. However, it’s worth noting that in the last ten years the Supreme Court has rejected First Amendment challenges to similar voucher programs put in place by the City of Cleveland and the State of Arizona, so it seems unlikely that these lawsuits would go anywhere.