Secular Coalition Calls on Senate to Oppose Lieberman's Voucher Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C - The Secular Coalition for America, the leading national organization representing the interests of American nontheists, urged the U.S. Senate today to oppose efforts to re-authorize a federal voucher program that would funnel millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to Washington, D.C. students who attend private religious schools that are not subject to federal and local anti-discrimination laws.

“This program is not only discriminatory – it’s unconstitutional,” said Sean Faircloth, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America. “The act specifically allows private religious schools to reject students or employees based on their faith, gender, or family situation, while still receiving U.S. taxpayer dollars.” 

Sen. Joseph Lieberman held a hearing today about S. 206, the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act of 2011, which would expand Washington, D.C.’s pilot voucher experiment – the only federally funded voucher program in the country – to include new students and allocate $20 million to the program. 

In a letter sent last week to every member of the U.S. Senate, Faircloth pointed out that more than 80 percent of students in the D.C. voucher program attend private religious schools.

“Reauthorizing and expanding the SOAR Act would only increase the number of students – and tax dollars – going to these private faith-based institutions,” Faircloth said in the letter. “U.S. taxpayer money should not fund programs that harm the fundamental civil rights of students and teachers.”

To read Faircloth’s entire letter, please click here.

House Speaker John Boehner is sponsoring similar voucher legislation (H.R. 471) in the U.S. House.
Contact: Mike Meno, SCA communications manager: 202-299-1091 or [email protected]

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