Americans United for Separation of Church and State applauded today’s decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed a Maryland public school district is not required to fund a child’s religious education.
Maryland legislators voted in March to approve a budget that includes $5 million in grants for low-income students who wish to attend private schools.
Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has indicated he will sign the bill. The proposal is the culmination of a decade-long attempt by voucher advocates to funnel public money to private schools.
Teachers unions had opposed the measure. Sean Johnson, who represents the Maryland State Education Association, told The Washington Post the group will continue to lobby against it.
In a nod to growing diversity in the United States, the U.S. Congress may soon have an openly non-theistic member after state Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Silver Spring-Takoma Park) won a Maryland primary last night.
Maryland recently became the latest state to adopt a school voucher program that will benefit mostly religious schools. The state will spend $5 million on the program, which is aimed at low-income students in Baltimore.
The Washington Post is ecstatic. The newspaper, which constantly promotes vouchers on its editorial page, recently published an editorial that reads like a string of talking points from the Cato Institute.
Maryland legislators are debating a proposal that would require public schools to allow student-led prayer at all public school events. S.B. 267, sponsored by Del. Ric Metzgar (R-Baltimore County), awaits a final vote.
“I believe we have a lot of young people today that are Christian young people that would really like to pray and express their faith,” Metzger told WBAL-TV, a local NBC affiliate, adding, “It’s student-led, and by young people, so it’s not pressure on adults or coaches to force the issue. It’s all student-led.”
A former Marine has sued the Charles County, Md., school district over a world history unit on Islam. Kevin Wood, who served in Iraq and identifies as a Catholic, announced the suit yesterday and is represented by the Thomas More Law Society (TMLS).
In what seems to be a case of genuine religious persecution, a Hindu dental technician working on a contract with the U.S. Air Force says she was fired because of her religious beliefs.
And in a move that has been described as “a literal ‘witch hunt,’” her former co-workers even accused her of practicing witchcraft.
How far does the Religious Right intend to go with its argument that “religious freedom” shields Christians who refuse to serve entire groups of people? The recent case of a Maryland disc jockey who declined to provide his services for a gay man’s birthday party may offer some insight.
Eight states still have provisions in their constitutions that either bar atheists outright from holding public office or require people to believe certain things about God and religion before they can be elected.
These provisions can’t be enforced. They were declared invalid by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1961 ruling in the case of Torcaso v. Watkins. Yet they linger on, a testament to the bigotry of bygone days.