Why I’m Optimistic About Christian Education (Podcast)

Why I’m Optimistic About Christian Education Podcast by John Stonestreet for Break Point

Back in 2015, the state legislature of Montana created a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for individuals who donate to organizations that provide scholarships to private school students. In response, the Montana Department of Revenue ruled that such a tax credit would violate the state’s version of the “Blaine Amendment,” which prohibits state funding of religious education. So, the state terminated the program altogether.

Kendra Espinoza, a single mom who works extra jobs in order to send her kids to a Christian school in Kalispell, challenged the Department of Revenue’s ruling in court. The case is currently on the Supreme Court’s docket for this term.

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During oral arguments, conservative justices like Alito and Kavanaugh brought up the Court’s decision in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, which held that forcing a church school to choose between “[participating] in an otherwise available benefit program or [remaining] a religious institution” violated the Free Exercise clause.

Unsurprisingly, the liberal justices disagreed.

What was surprising is that the editorial board of the Washington Post came out on the side of Espinoza. Using scholarships at private, religious schools was not only a parent’s right, the editorial board wrote, but using them didn’t “undermine” or “harm” public education or the state, “contrary to many of the tropes advanced by those opposed to school choice.”

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