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Supreme Court of the United States

Secularists Unite to Destroy Parental Authority and Religious Liberty

By Alan Sears posted on:
October 17, 2017

It’s one pretty dependable sign that you’re doing the right thing when you find the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Atheist Alliance International, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation lined up against you in a single case.

That’s just a sampling of the extraordinary opposition aggravated by and aggregated against the notion that parents should have the freedom to choose where their children go to school.  And right now, that collective legal hostility is directed specifically toward destroying the choice permitted by the tuition tax credit in Arizona.

Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization, like other school tuition organizations (STOs) cropping up around the country, is a non-profit group that provides scholarships through private donations for families who want to send their children to private schools, but can’t afford the higher tuition.  Anyone can contribute money to an STO in exchange for a credit on their state income tax.  These STOs have opened all kinds of new educational opportunities for children from low and medium income families – and drawn harsh criticism and lawsuits from the ACLU and citizen groups who object to private and Christian educational options, and to giving the ultimate authority to parents, rather than the government, to decide what is best for their own children.

The Alliance Defense Fund is representing ACSTO in a federal lawsuit brought by the ACLU that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on November 3rd – a case that will determine a) whether the government is ‘establishing religion’ by giving tax credits to those who contribute to STOs, and b) whether the ACLU’s clients have any legal stake in deciding whether children do or don’t attend a private or religious school.

How is the parent who wants his youngster in public school hurt when another parent is able, through an STO scholarship, to send their child to a private one?  She isn’t. Nor is she under any legal obligation to contribute to an STO.  What’s more, those parents who take advantage of tuition tax credits still pay taxes to provide public school facilities for other children.

Given, then, that STOs don’t compel the government to support religion (tax credits are awarded to those funding scholarships for a variety of private schools – not just Christian ones), and that those opposing the STOs incur no personal injury as a result of these scholarship programs, the only rationale left for those so aggressively opposed to the idea is a desire to bully parents with limited financial resources into accepting a government school education for their children,  regardless of the success or failure of such schools in their community.

Please be in prayer for this case, which obviously has such profound implications for families nationwide and for the religious freedom of all Americans.

To learn more about what's at stake in the ACSTO v. Winn case, please visit our resource page, School Choice: A Parent’s Right under Attack.

Alan Sears

Alan Sears


Alan Sears served as founder of Alliance Defending Freedom, building on his experience as longtime leader of the organization to strengthen alliances, forge new relationships, and develop ADF resources.

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