Action Alert

Tell the Department of Education that you do not want to pay for religious education

1PublicFunds religious-schools

 

A recently proposed rule change by the Department of Education could open the door for spending federal tax dollars on religious education. If you don’t want your taxes to be used to promote religion at private religious schools, please follow the link below and submit a formal comment to voice your concerns to the Department of Education. You can use our suggested wording below, or write your own comment.

BACKGROUND

Under current regulations that implement Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA), the Department of Education is prohibited from using tax dollars to advance religion. This includes providing financial aid to students in order to become preachers or for inherently religious activities such as proselytizing or worship services. These restrictions are not only constitutionally permissible, they are required under the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from advancing religion.

However, students who attend religious schools in order to pursue secular degrees are eligible for financial aid. So long as the government does not directly subsidize inherently religious activities in violation of the Establishment Clause, the Department of Education has made every effort to provide financial aid to students at religious institutions.

Nevertheless, the Department of Education has decided to revisit these regulations. This is unnecessary and risks violating the Establishment Clause by forcing taxpayers to pay for religious education or religious activities. The proposed change is a direct response to a Supreme Court case last year called Trinity Lutheran, but that case had nothing to do with higher education and does not require any changes to HEA regulations. Please take a moment to urge the Department of Education to leave the regulations regarding faith-based entities the way they are.

To submit a comment, follow this link and click on the green button that says “SUBMIT A FORMAL COMMENT.” Public comments are due TOMORROW, so please take action right away. There are currently less than 20 public comments on this issue, so it’s a great time for you to have your voice heard and it only takes a minute.

 

TAKE ACTION

 

TALKING POINTS

Please feel free to use or adapt the talking points below.

As a taxpayer, I am strongly opposed to the use of any Department of Education funds in order to advance religion. The Department’s recent announcement of revisiting the regulations implementing Title IV of the HEA is deeply concerning because it suggests a loosening of the important restrictions on funding that advances religion.

The Department’s current regulations ensure that religious institutions are treated fairly without forcing taxpayers to advance religion. The current restrictions are constitutionally mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Trinity Lutheran does not require or allow the Department of Education to fund religious education or religious activities. Please leave the Title IV rules regarding faith-based entities the way they are in order to protect the religious liberty of all Americans.

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