People went to the polls yesterday to vote on more than just who would be the next president of the United States. Voters in two states and one city voted on ballot initiatives that would have impacted religious freedom.
By Kelly Percival
Thirty-eight states protect religious liberty in their constitutions by prohibiting taxpayer money from being used to fund religion or religious institutions. These “no-aid clauses” safeguard the integrity of houses of worship by ensuring that they do not become beholden to state interests. Next week, however, Oklahoma voters will face State Question 790, a dangerous ballot measure that, if passed, would repeal Oklahoma’s no-aid-to-religion clause and erode the separation of church and state there.
During this election season, many of us will be voting on more than just national, state and local candidates. We will also encounter state and local ballot questions that are of great importance to our communities.
This week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, an independent agency that works for Congress and investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer money, released a new report on private school voucher programs. The report found that as private school voucher programs continue to spread throughout the states, taxpayers are contributing more and more money each year to programs that are plagued with problems.
Yesterday AU Communications Associate Rokia Hassanein wrote about attending the Values Voter Summit (VVS) for the first time. I felt a little guilty throwing her into the abyss when she’s been with AU for less than a month, but Rokia had a good attitude about it. I know she heard and felt some things that surprised her.
Yesterday, Donald Trump unveiled his education plan. It lacks any vision for strengthening our public schools. Instead, it would divert $20 billion in federal funding to “school choice,” including private school vouchers.
I was excited to be relaxing last week in Ocean City, N.J., my hometown.
A Florida court just threw out an appeal brought by Americans United and its allies challenging a school-voucher-like program that provides taxpayer support for religious organizations. As disappointing as that outcome is, it’s doubly frustrating to see a second Sunshine State court fail to even consider the merits of the case.
Donald Trump has announced that he plans to put Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on his ticket. This selection signals that Trump, a controversial real estate mogul and reality TV star, is continuing his aggressive courting of the Religious Right, in the hopes of achieving victory this fall.
Whether it will work remains to be seen. In the meantime, here are some things to keep in mind about Pence: