The Instigator
ConserativeDemocrat
Con (against)
The Contender
Peili
Pro (for)

Should vouchers be given to students who attend religious schools?

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Debate Round Forfeited
ConserativeDemocrat has forfeited round #5.
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/10/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 406 times Debate No: 93566
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)

 

ConserativeDemocrat

Con

Full Resolution: In America, should vouchers be given to students that teach a certain religion is correct?

Rules
1.) Round one is acceptance only
2.) No trolling, semantics, kritkiks and so on
3.) If you must forfeit, let me know beforehand
4.) Cite your sources
5.) Follow the structure
6.) BoP is shared

Structure:
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Arguments only
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Rebuttals
Round 5: Conclusion

Good Luck!
Peili

Pro

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
ConserativeDemocrat

Con

Thank you for accepting!

In this debate, I will argue that we should not give vouchers to religious schools. My reasoning for this is that it violates our religious liberty.

First, I'll give a quick overview of what vouchers are. From wikipedia, "A school voucher, also called an education voucher, in a voucher system, is a certificate of government funding for a student at a school chosen by the student or the student's parents." [1]
In America, we have a separation of church and state. Also, in the constitution, we have the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment. It reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." [2]
So what do religious schools teach? Many of them teach a literal interpretation of a holy book. For Christianity, this means the creation story, Noah's Ark, the Earth is 6000 years old, to reject women's rights and gay rights, to kill people for minor of non-existent crimes, and many other things.
This becomes a problem because the government uses taxpayer money to pay for vouchers. Or, in other words, the government is paying for religion. This violates the establishment clause. So religious school vouchers are unconstitutional.
I personally am an atheist, so why should I have to pay for religion. If you are a Christian, should you have to pay for a Jewish school? Or a Muslim one? No. Because that violates your freedom of religion.
Religious schools also have many discriminatory hiring practices and discriminatory rules. For example, a teacher was fired for being pregnant outside of marriage. [3] Why should the taxpayers have to fund a school that does things like that?

There also is a moral and ethical argument to this. You have the freedom of religion. So why should you be forced to pay for other people's religion? Paying for religion should be a private decision, and it shouldn't be forced on you by the government.

My argument is quite simple. In America, we have the freedom of religion, and our government can not, "...Respect the establishment of religion. When the government gives vouchers to students who attend religious schools, they are forcing taxpayers to pay for religion. That is wrong.

Sources:
[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org...
[2] https://en.m.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://m.motherjones.com...
In general: https://www.au.org... -Just for religion.

Don't complain about me using wikipedia. They just copied the definitions from the dictionary or the constitution.
Peili

Pro

I will provide my main argument here. I will reply to Pro"s argument in my next post.

Let me start with a clear explanation of what school vouchers are.

School vouchers take the school tax money families have paid for public school and use it for private school instead.[1] It is not the government paying for school. It is the government allowing families to choose if they want their money to go to a public or private school. "Voucher laws essentially reimburse parents for the amount of money that would have otherwise been used to educate their child in a public school."[2]

In America we have the First Amendment to the Constitution, which includes the statements: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."[3]

This means that our government does not take a positive or negative stance on religion. Our government does not promote one religious of philosophical view above others, and it does not place a religious or philosophical view below others.

Pro"s position would violate the First Amendment. Pro is attempting to place a single philosophical belief, namely secularism, above all other beliefs. As a self-described atheist, Pro is arguing that the government should allow parents to use their school tax money to pay for private school, but only if the school teaches his philosophical view. His position would help establish secularism as the religion of America. (I recognize that secularism itself is not a religion, but it functions as a religion in this context.)

Children are legally required to go to school. As such, we should not require them to go school where one religious or philosophical view is promoted as the correct one. However, if we are going to allow families to choose which private school their children go to, and provide school tax money for that private school, then the First Amendment guarantees them the right to choose a religious or non-religious school if such schools are available.

Freedom of religion means that school vouchers systems must be all or nothing in regards to religion and philosophy. Either schools in the vouchers system can be of any religion (including specifically atheist schools), or the voucher system cannot exist. Pro"s argument violates the First Amendment by establishing a single philosophical view at the expense of all others.
Debate Round No. 2
ConserativeDemocrat

Con

Thank you for a speedy response. I would like to let my opponent know that I am leaving for camp on Sunday, so if we could finish this debate by then, that would be nice.

"Voucher laws essentially reimburse parents for the amount of money that would have otherwise been used to educate their child in a public school."[2]"
- I see no link for this. Plus, this doesn't change the fact that the government is paying for vouchers. You legally have no right to choose how your tax dollars are spent, so the government could be using other people's tax dollars to pay for vouchers.

"This means that our government does not take a positive or negative stance on religion. Our government does not promote one religious of philosophical view above others, and it does not place a religious or philosophical view below others."
- Yes, the USA is a secular nation.

"Pro"s position would violate the First Amendment. Pro is attempting to place a single philosophical belief, namely secularism, above all other beliefs. As a self-described atheist, Pro is arguing that the government should allow parents to use their school tax money to pay for private school, but only if the school teaches his philosophical view. His position would help establish secularism as the religion of America."
- First off, I don't care if religious schools exist and teach their own dogma. I do, however, care if my future tax dollars are used to fund religious private schools. I also don't think tax dollars should only find atheist schools, only non-religious ones. Next, America is a secular nation [1]. This is shown in the constitution and by the founding fathers actions.
From my source: The Founding Fathers did not create a secular government because they disliked religion. Many were believers themselves. Yet they were well aware of the dangers of church-state union. They had studied and even seen first-hand the difficulties that church-state partnerships spawned in Europe. During the American colonial period, alliances between religion and government produced oppression and tyranny on our own shores [1]. This source has many examples of the founding fathers intentions to create a secular nation, and that is reflected in the constitution.
The establishment clause, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Notice the, "No law respecting an establishment of religion." When the government pays for private religious schools, they are respecting their establishment. That is unconstitutional.

"(I recognize that secularism itself is not a religion, but it functions as a religion in this context.)"
- How? Secularism is simply the lack of a belief in God. In no context does it function as a religion. There are no atheist schools. The closest thing to an atheist school are public schools and non-religious private schools. Those are the only schools that should get tax dollars, as they promote no religion over another.

"As such, we should not require them to go school where one religious or philosophical view is promoted as the correct on"
-Like a public school or a non-religious private school.

"However, if we are going to allow families to choose which private school their children go to, and provide school tax money for that private school, then the First Amendment guarantees them the right to choose a religious or non-religious school if such"
-Yes, the First Amendment gives them the right to go to a religious school. The First Amendment also bans the government from funding religion. So the government can't use tax dollars to fund religious schools.

"Either schools in the vouchers system can be of any religion (including specifically atheist schools), or the voucher system cannot exist."
- There is no such thing as an atheist school. There are religious schools though. In America, there are religious schools, and there are secular schools. Secular schools don't promote any religion. Those are the schools out tax dollars should go to.

"Pro"s argument violates the First Amendment by establishing a single philosophical view at the expense of all others."
- My system would protect the 22.8% of the non-affiliated, the 5.9 % who are other faiths, the 25.4 % who are evangelical Protestant, the 20.8% who are catholic, and the othet Protestants in the country [2]. My view protects everyone. It ensures atheists aren't paying for Christians, the christians aren't paying for the Muslims, the Muslims aren't paying for the Hindus, the Hindus aren't paying for the Buddhists and so on. My view is the only view that helps all faiths, and it is not unconstitutional.

Good luck!

Sources:
[1] https://www.au.org...
[2] http://www.pewforum.org...
Peili

Pro

Let me begin by looking at Pro"s opening arguments.

Pro"s statements suggest that he is somewhat uniformed about actual religious schools or religion in general. He says that religious school teach students "to kill people for minor [or] non-existent crimes." This is obviously false and I challenge Pro to produce any evidence that is commonly taught in religious school in America. He also said that religious school teach that the Earth is 6000 years old. However, "the largest system of private schools in the United States is operated by the Roman Catholic Church" [1]. Roman Catholic dogma does not say that the world is 6,000 years old. Pro needs to gain more accurate information about religion and religious school before he even considers suggesting correct policy about these schools.

Pro argued that the voucher system requires atheists to "pay for religion." As I pointed out in my last post, this is an inaccurate description of the school voucher system. More to the point, the real question is why anyone should be forced to "pay" for any private school. However, as agreed upon in the comments we are debating in the setting where school vouchers are already accepted. So what Pro is really arguing for is requiring everyone to pay for the schools he wants while not allowing them to pay for the school they want. He is trying to establish his view as the religion of America.

Pro also argued that "religious school have many discriminatory hiring practices," and provided a single example of that. In reality that was a single example of discrimination which was handled effectively by our legal system and has been settled out of court.[2] Problems exist in every school system. Giving a single example, which has been settled, and using that to suggest that all religious school are worse than all secular school is obviously ludicrous.

Now let me to turn to Pro"s rebuttal.

First I will note that Pro said that "you legally have no right to choose how your tax dollars are spent, so the government could be using other people's tax dollars to pay for vouchers." This again suggests that he does not understand how the voucher system works, since the amount of the voucher is based on what a person pays in school taxes. Also, if the government grants people the right to choose how their tax dollars are spent, then they have that right. That is how the voucher system works if we are talking about religious school or secular school.

Pro"s suggestion his system would "protect" the non-affiliated and people various faith is simply false. He is not protecting anyone since no one is required to go to any form of religious school. All Pro"s plan does is promote his personal views at the expense of all others.

The rest of this debate really comes down to one question: Do religious views get equal protection under the law, or are secular views to be given special treatment. SCOTUS has clearly stated that the government will not decide which views it supports and which ones it does not. Our Government does not place any religious view above another, or above any non-religious view. Nor does it place non-religious views above religious ones. To be secular is not to lack religion, but to take no stand on religion at all. SCOTUS said "A State's decision to defray the cost of educational expenses incurred by parents -- regardless of the type of schools their children attend -- evidences a purpose that is both secular and understandable." [3]

And again, "The Court"s ruling in Mueller v. Allen, 463 U.S. 388 (1983) and following related cases shows that a government aid project cannot be easily defeated with reference to the Establishment Clause provided it gives no deference to religion, and makes aid available to a class of citizens who by their own voluntary and independent choice channel that aid to religious schools." [4]

School vouchers for religious school do not give deference to religion. The voucher system treats all school the same, assuming that they meet appropriate educational standards. As long as a religious school meets or exceeds the educational standards of the state then it should be tread the same as any non-religious private school. To do otherwise is to treat religious persons as second-class citizens and would have the government taking sides in religious disputes. This would be the worst thing the government could do. It should take no side, but treat all people equally.

Sources:
1. https://nces.ed.gov...

2. http://www.usnews.com...

3. https://www.law.cornell.edu...

4. http://www.casebriefs.com...

Due to an editing error, my source were not listed on my first post. My apologies. Here they are:
1. http://www.ncsl.org...

2. http://www.greatschools.org...

3. https://www.law.cornell.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
ConserativeDemocrat

Con

I would like to ask my opponent to finish this debate in round 4, and forfeit round 5, as I will be unable to post in round 5.

Now for my final rebuttals.

"He says that religious school teach students "to kill people for minor [or] non-existent crimes."
- Yes, this is in the bible. For example, the punishment for adultery is death [1]. That is absurd. Adulterers don't deserve to die. My point was that the government should not support an inmoral religion. They can teach this, but the taxpayers should not fund this.

"Roman Catholic dogma does not say that the world is 6,000 years old. Pro needs to gain more accurate information about religion and religious school before he even considers suggesting correct policy about these schools."
- First, there are many other branches of Christianity. And according to them, the Earth is 6000 years old [2]. Why should the government help fund religious schools that teach things that are plain false [3].

"Pro argued that the voucher system requires atheists to "pay for religion." As I pointed out in my last post, this is an inaccurate description of the same chool voucher system. More to the point, the real question is why anyone should be forced to "pay" for any private school. However, as agreed upon in the comments we are debating in the setting where school vouchers are already accepted. So what Pro is really arguing for is requiring everyone to pay for the schools he wants while not allowing them to pay for the school they want. He is trying to establish his view as the religion of America."
- Well, my view is the view of America. America is a secular country. It can't discriminate against the religious, but it can't help them or promote religion, even if they promote then equally. It lacks a religion. Again, this is shown in the establishment clause. If the government were to subsidize a private religious school by providing vouchers, they are respecting the establishment of a religion. That is unconstitutional. Now, you legally have no say in how your tax dollare are spent, besides voting. So when the government sends out vouchers, they are paying for religion. The government is doing you a favor by giving you a voucher. And that favor is unconstitutional, and unethical. The government is using tax dollars to pay for religion.

"Giving a single example, which has been settled, and using that to suggest that all religious school are worse than all secular school is obviously ludicrous."
- This is just one example. They teach kids that their religion is true, which is fine, but why should the government pay for it?

"Pro"s suggestion his system would "protect" the non-affiliated and people various faith is simply false. He is not protecting anyone since no one is required to go to any form of religious school. All Pro"s plan does is promote his personal views at the expense of all others."
- My idea protects everyone. It ensures your government won't be paying for other people's religions.

About your SCOTUS point, the Supreme Court also decided in Everson vs. The Board of Education decided that the government can pass no law that no law can be used to support religion, and no tax can be used to fund religion. With this in mind, sending tax dollars to fund religious schools is in violation of the first amendment. [4]

"To do otherwise is to treat religious persons as second-class citizens and would have the government taking sides in religious disputes. This would be the worst thing the government could do. It should take no side, but treat all people equally."
- Not allowing tax dollars to go to religious schools doesn't discriminate against the religious. It protects them. It ensures that the government won't fund other religions, or fund the hypothetical "Anti-Religious" school. I support the funding of schools that don't promote, or bash religions, as either would be unconstitutional. For example, I don't want our government funding a school that teaches religion is true, but I also won't support the funding of a school that teaches all religions are wrong and bashes them.

To conclude, I have shown that the government funding of religious schools is unconstitutional and unethical. The Everson vs Board of Education and the establishment are my proof that vouchers are unconstitutional. They are unethical, because the people's government is funding religions that are not your own. Thank you for the debate. Vote Con!
Peili

Pro

I agree to Con"s request to finish this debate in round 4 and forfeit round five.

Con said that in the Bible teaches that the punishment for adultery is death. Setting aside this overly simplistic view of Christian theology, our debate is not about what the Bible says. It is about religious schools. Religious schools do not teach capital punishment for adultery, and Con has provided no evidence to suggest that they do.

Con also restated the idea that religious schools teach that the world is 6,000 years old. I have already shown that Catholic schools, the largest group of religious school in America, do not teach this. Con has not demonstrated that any large group of religious school do teach this. He argued that some denominations teach this (though he did not provide the link to support this claim), but this is not the same as a school teaching it.

Con then said his view of America is that it is a secular country, which in earlier rounds he suggested means that America takes no stand on religion. However, what he is actually arguing for is an anti-religious country. He wants to support private schools, as long as those school fit his worldview. Instead of treating all schools as equal as long as their academics are sufficient, Con"s position would advance his worldview above those who disagree with him. He repeated his claim that he wants to "protect" everyone, when in reality his program protects no one and ostracizes those who disagree with him.

Con tried to claim that the SCOTUS agrees with him by citing Everson vs. The Board of Education. In reality, in Zelman V. Simmons-Harris, which I cited above and will now cite again [1], SCOTUS explicitly said that school vouchers for religious school are acceptable.

In conclusion, Con claimed that he was trying to prevent the establishment of religion, when in reality his position would establish an anti-religious stand from the government. His misunderstanding of how school vouchers work and how religious school function in America have resulted in a position that attacks people of different worldviews instead of keeping the government neutral towards religion.

My position is to keep the government neutral. The philosophy of the school is not what matters. The quality of the education is what matters. As long as a school meets the educational standards set by the state then it should be treated like any other school, be it a religious school or a non-religious school. To do otherwise is to put the government on one side or the other of a religious debate, and that is the last place we want it to be.

Vote Pro.

1. http://www.casebriefs.com...
Debate Round No. 4
This round has not been posted yet.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by ConserativeDemocrat 1 year ago
ConserativeDemocrat
Attention voters:
I will be unable to post a round 5 argument. This is not a conduct violation, as stated in my rules. Please do not deduct conduct points for this. Thank you.
Posted by ConserativeDemocrat 1 year ago
ConserativeDemocrat
Yes, we will only be debating the validity religious school vouchers
Posted by Peili 1 year ago
Peili
I would accept this on one condition: We are debating the validity of using school vouchers for religious schools in a setting where school vouchers are the accepted law of the land. This means that we are NOT debating the validity of school vouchers. We would debate if, in a setting where school vouchers are already in use, religious schools should be included or excluded.

If that is your intent then let me know and I will accept.
Posted by ViceRegent 1 year ago
ViceRegent
We should, as part of a policy of defunding the left and helping children, abolish government schools, give everyone that pays taxes a massive tax cut and allow people to educate their children as they see fit with no government interference.
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