Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lieberman's School Vouchers Defeated

In early March, Sen. Joe Lieberman proposed an amendment to the Senate jobs bill that would reauthorize the "D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program," an initiative that forced American taxpayers to subsidize religious institutions through school vouchers. A July 2009 report by Rutgers University on the D.C. voucher program concluded that the program's structure "essentially push[es] students into Christian Association and Catholic schools, pricing out independent (non-religious) schools and Hebrew schools." Those of us who do not wish to subsidize religion with our tax dollars would continue to be forced to do so if the amendment passed.

After being alerted to the coming vote by the Secular Coalition for America, thousands took action, writing to their senators, and the amendment never made it to the jobs bill--though Senator Lieberman promised he would bring it back as soon as he could.

On March 16, 2010, Senator Lieberman managed to bring the amendment to the floor, attaching it this time to a bill funding the Federal Aviation Administration. Debate was heard, votes were cast, and the amendment was defeated, with 42 voting for the amendment to 55 against. It was a fantastic example of Secular Americans working together, helping to stop the unconstitutional public financing of religious education.