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Tax credits for religious school scholarships ruled constitutional
April 4th, 2011
10:31 AM ET

Tax credits for religious school scholarships ruled constitutional

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday tossed out a lawsuit challenging Arizona's tax breaks for voluntary donations benefiting private school scholarships, many of them Christian-based.

The 13-year-old program provides dollar-for-dollar income tax credits for money given to "school tuition organizations," or STOs.

The 5-4 ruling split along conservative-liberal lines. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said taxpayers challenging the program lacked "standing" to continue the suit.

"If an establishment of religion is alleged to cause real injury to particular individuals, the federal courts may adjudicate the matter," Kennedy wrote. "The fact that (those challenging the program) are state taxpayers does not give them standing to challenge the subsidies that (the program) provides to religious STOs."

The case involved a politically charged trifecta - taxes, religion and education.

Some Arizona taxpayers challenged the program as unconstitutional because, they say, not-for-profit religious organizations award most of the scholarships and require children to enroll in religious schools.

Those opponents said the state has effectively been funneling taxpayer money to religious schools through a third-party "front" group.

The justices were divided over whether that represented a de facto "endorsement" of religion by Arizona.

A key issue for the court was whether the tax credit meant the donated amount was the government's money or an individual's.

The growing popularity of school choice plans around the country has raised fresh legal questions about whether Arizona's plan is religion-neutral, and whether parents have true decision-making power, free from government intervention.

A federal appeals court ruled the decade-old lawsuit could proceed.

In 2002, the Supreme Court separately upheld school voucher programs.
Supporters of the Arizona aid program said theirs was no different from the Cleveland program approved nine years ago, because in both cases, government does not direct any money to religious schools.

Arizonans can receive a $500 credit ($1,000 for a couple filing jointly) off their state income taxes for contributions to school tuition organizations, which operate as charities. These organizations must spend at least 90 percent of money received on scholarships, and must offer them to students at more than one school. Parents would apply for the tax-credit funded scholarships at either a religious or secular school.

In this ruling, Kennedy said the tax credit did not amount to a "government expenditure."

"Awarding some citizens a tax credit allows other citizens to retain control over their own funds in accordance with their own consciences," he said. "Private citizens created private STOs; STOs choose beneficiary schools; and taxpayers then contribute to STOs."

He was supported by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.

In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan said the majority "betrays" the vision of the nation's founders on the separation of church and state.

"Today's decisions devastates taxpayer standing in Establishment Clause cases," she wrote. "The court's opinion thus offers a roadmap - more truly, a one-step instruction - to any government that wishes to to insulate its financing of religious activity from legal challenges. ... However blatantly the government may violate the Establishment Clause, taxpayers cannot gain access to the federal courts."

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor backed Kagan's views.

State figures show more than 50 school tuition organizations had received about $400 million in contributions through last year. In 2009, the program provided 27,000 scholarships to 373 schools, with most going to students who would not have been able to afford to attend.

An Arizona Republic newspaper investigation found that of the $54 million in scholarships awarded in 2008, 93 percent went to students attending religious schools.

Four Arizona taxpayers had sued the state and some of the largest school tuition organizations. The plaintiffs are represented by various outside groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union.

Taxpayers are generally limited in their ability to claim constitutional wrongdoing over government spending. A special class was carved by the high court 42 years ago - the so-called Flast exception– for some kinds of disputes related to the First Amendment's prohibition on government "establishment of religion."

The current cases are Arizona Christian School Tuition Org. v. Winn (09-987) and Garriott v. Winn (09-991).

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Courts

soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. Working tax credit guide

    Fortunately that this taxes credit ceiling for the ... Madness on the other hand does not contain those in the particular oughout.ersus. Internet marketer or even people in the unusual program while ... Tax Credit

    January 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  2. Frederica

    My user name is hijacked again. I won't post as Frederica again. @EvolvedDNA, but they exclude God consciously and that already put them at unfair premises at that point. Science and observations indicate there is a Designer and a Programmer superior to humans. And a Lover, too, since the colors of the sky carries irrefutable poems. And the Bible is the only evidential writing that exists on Planet Earth to explain this Creator.

    April 8, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why don't you just place a period after the word "post" in your second sentence? That would do the trick, you rabid harpy.

      April 8, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  3. EvolvedDNA

    Frederica..I think that you forget that many if not all atheists have had a religious background. They understand what religion is, but have discovered it is bogus. I am not new age, or any label you wish to put on me..I have looked at the evidence and found that science has better explanations than having a god create it. Yes, using gods are a simple way to explain the world, but it does not fit the observations. Speaking in riddles does not make Christianity any more true. We wish we could get you to speak the truth and give us the proof we ask for ...we are open minded enough to say that we would change our minds if god exists, but you and the others cannot offer this. chanting bible verses is not proof.

    April 8, 2011 at 12:17 am |
  4. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Really, Freddy looks dumber with every post. Half her spew is complete gibberish and the rest is pap she bellows as a reflex.

    What a maroon.

    April 6, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Frederica

      Tom, thank you. I'm happy to amuse you though I write what I mean. You don't have to read my comments if you don't want to. You just have to acknowledge the rights of religious people to exist even if you don't like what we proclaim.

      April 7, 2011 at 3:57 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      Frederica, no one has ever advocated that you lose any rights you have.. that is what the religious like to do to those they deem "immoral".. based on of course..nothing. Religion has had privileged status in society and we still allow outrageous statements by religious leaders. I will keep the comments short for you as you lose interest as the truth gets closer...

      April 7, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • Frederica

      EvolvedDNA, thank you. You are always nice. Read Tom's comments. I encounter religion-haters like him everyday. I'm glad I don't understand his vocab thus don't get what he really is saying. Evo-, they don't care new agers like yourself because they think new agers are tamable. You guys all hate Christianity because it speaks Truth.

      April 7, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • Frederica

      EvolvedDNA, I mean I don't understand English slung much. Atheists are spewing ther ignorance on religion just like their favorite authors of trash literature, but there are answers to everything. Just ask one question at a time, EvolvedDNA, although you seem to be rather in a full plunge in your new age thoughts and have no interest in finding the objective truth. Evo-, remember that self contains deceits and truth is outside of self. Truth is in God. Jesus is Truth.

      April 7, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Freddy, you idiot, who said you didn't have a "right" to post your moronic nonsense? Go right ahead, bozo. Who's stopping you?

      And just as you have a right to post gibberish, I have the right to call a spade a spade. Look that up in your dictionary, numbnutz.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
  5. Steve S. (PA)

    Taking religion out of schools took the biggest problems of running in the hall or chewing gum to nowadays having drugs, weapons at school, teen pregnancies, etc....Religious schools should get the same funding public ones do as the playing field needs to be leveled. Freedom of religion, not freedom from it.

    April 6, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not gonna happen. And your idiotic statement that enforcing the separation of church and state is what has brought the public schools impossible challenges is simply that: idiotic.

      Grow up and learn to read something other than the pap on religious sites. People like you are a menace.

      April 6, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son wrote (about public funding of religious schools) "Not gonna happen."

      Don't be too sure... with the way the political parties in this country have been constantly pandering to the religious zealots, it's only a matter of time before this country heads towards becoming a theocracy like some of the other shining examples of that form of governance...

      April 6, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      As much as I hate all religion, I don't have a big problem with public funding of religious schools...

      There are a few provinces in Canada that negotiated language and religious rights when they joined Canada. Where I live, taxpayers can direct their tax dollars to the public or catholic system, and it seems to work. Non-believers can send their children to catholic schools, if there is room, and vice versa – many parents base their decision on where to send their children based on proximity to the school, not solely on beliefs. Me, no way I'd ever subject my children to such bullish!I!!

      April 6, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'll be fine with taxes supporting "private" schools (which will no longer BE private if taxes are supporting them), as long as those schools are forced to accept any student who applies to attend, regardless of behavior or mental or physical handicaps, as long as students cannot be barred from attending for any reasons other than those which bar them from other public schools, and as long as the students and their schools are subjected to the same measures of accountability as are the public schools–that is, high stakes testing and state certification of all the teachers.

      Have at it. Otherwise, no dice. If the religious schools place any hurdles in the way of ANY student who wants to attend and who would be admitted to any public school, they get zip in the way of taxpayer dollars.

      April 6, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
  6. JJ

    Why can't these religious schools support themselves? Do they need to suc-kle at the tee-t of the Federal Government and my tax dollars? Churches used to pay for religious education by passing the collection plate, but it seems parishoners are drying up, and the plate has only a few coins rolling around on it. The fact that these schools need federal money just shows that religion is dying, and needs to be fed intravenously.

    April 5, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Waffle Bob

      It's because Jesus was a socialist.

      April 5, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Frederica

      Bob, Jesus wasn't a socialist. He is the God-King who is sovereign over everything.

      April 6, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • JJ

      Frederica –
      And like all worldly kings, needs to levy taxes from the people. Apparently good ole Jebus can't do anything without the almighty dollar. Just like worshippers of Zues needed money to build temples, just like Thor needed to collect gold, just like every snake oil salesman needs to fleece people of their hard earned cash for nothing more than colored water.

      April 6, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Frederica

      @JJ ? When Jesus returns to Planet Earth as the rightful King, there will be entirely a New Order. Human greed will be useless and won't even exist then.

      April 6, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  7. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    I'd like to see Freddy comment on the story about slavery on board fishing fleets in Southeast Asia, her home. Why aren't you reading that story and telling us how much better your nation is than the US, Freddy?

    April 5, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Frederica

      Tom, I did make comments there. Actually I'm more familiar with Romania. I hope CNN would feature on prison abuse, religious persecution and child soldiers as well. Out planet has chronical man-made problems.

      April 5, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "chronical"? Jesus, lady, use spell-check. That's not even a word.

      Anybody who's as ignorant as you are has no business commenting on schools at all. You obviously didn't go to any.

      April 6, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • No One Is Safe

      now, tom tom, c'mon, let's be fair... english is probably a second language for freddy.

      that doesn't account for the rest of her batsiht-insane babblings, but it does, at least, explain "chronical"...

      April 6, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • Frederica

      @N-O-I-S, thank you for your understanding. I meant "chronic," but my dictionary says "chronical" is the same. ESL people can voice in USA, can't we? I enjoy reading broken language of foreigners. I think kinda it's cute.

      April 7, 2011 at 3:46 am |
  8. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Freddy, the only "ignorant" here is you. Schools are not "atheist", they're religiously neutral. They teach scientific fact, not religious dogma. Students are free to pray.

    I don't think you have a clue about much of anything. Not that it matters. You're not a citizen and those of us who are don't give a hoot about your wishes for a country that isn't yours. Stay wherever you are. You don't belong here.

    April 5, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Waffle Bob

      The harpy from Viet Nam knows more about America than Americans.

      April 5, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      From the junk she's written, it sounds as though she might have been born to a Vietnamese mother who had an affair with a US soldier. And yes, I'm amused by her imagined understanding of the US, as well as her arrogant assumption that her opinions on it and its laws matter in the slightest, considering she's not living here and probably never will be.

      April 5, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Frederica

      Bob and Tom, you guys are funny. So what did you do for US-Vietnamese halves? I'm not Vietnamese. Will you be upset if I come to USA? I love your nation too much.

      April 5, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Frederica

      Guys, I only tried to talk from religious people's position on your level, but you are hating me and other nations who have nothing to do with me. I say stuff about USA because it's the only subject I can comment on. I met more anti-Americans elsewhere. I'm kind of happy to realize American Christians are not being persecuted as I imagined. Reading your comments and watching news, it looks really bad now, you know, like the rounding up Christians and Muslims have already started or something. I hope you realize that.

      April 6, 2011 at 12:16 am |
    • Waffle Bob

      I won't be upset if you come. There's plenty of room at Bellevue for you.

      April 6, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • Frederica

      Bob, thank you. It's just a dream. Please be good to Vietnamese.

      April 6, 2011 at 8:52 am |
  9. Reality

    As part of any school curriculum should be these observations from Professor J. Somerville:

    "John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today

    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed.

    From these comments one is able to conclude:

    It is very disturbing that religious violence and hatred continues unabated due to radomness of birth. Maybe just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

    April 4, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Frederica

      Christianity spreaded explosively by conversion under heavy persecutions especially from atheists. Atheism is the most brutal, oppresive ideology on earth.

      April 5, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • Craz

      Frederica, Atheism is the lack of ideology, the lack of a belief system. You are woefully ignorant of what the word means because you have been living in a small box without light. You cannot escape without opening the box.

      April 5, 2011 at 3:47 am |
    • Frederica

      Craz, I met enough atheists here and they are perfect ignorants in religion but keep talking against it or attack religious people, then and now and everywhere.

      April 5, 2011 at 5:50 am |
    • Reality

      Only for the those interested in a religious update:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment.

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.
      earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      3. Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac ministers, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      4. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.
      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      5. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current crises:
      The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

      6. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."
      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

      Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

      April 5, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  10. Frederica

    Religious schools should get government fund just as atheistic public schools do in USA, unless USA is communist.

    April 4, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • Janet McCarthy

      What country are you from?

      April 4, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Frederica

      Janet, tell me if USA still has religious freedom. I know it's gone in US public schools.

      April 5, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • Jant McCarthy

      Why won't you answer the question?

      April 5, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • Q

      @Frederica – Individuals are free to practice their religion and this liberty doesn't cease to exist in schools. In U.S. public schools, kids are free to pray and express their religious beliefs, wear religious symbols, etc. These activities have been strongly supported by any number of legal aid groups (e.g. Thomas Moore Law Center, Christian Legal Society, ACLU, etc). However, while individuals are free to exercise their religious liberty, public schools are under the same constraints as any other public inst-itution in that they cannot advance or hinder any particular religious view (of course there are limitations on "free exercise" here, i.e. any activity which disrupts the primary activity of education, removing science topics solely because they conflict with religious creation myths, etc). By virtually any measure, the U.S. is the most religious industrialized western nation. How exactly do you define "religious freedom"?

      April 5, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • Frederica

      Janet, why do you want to know? I don't feel safe when people want to know where I'm from. Besides, I don't want anyone to hate my countries because of what I wrote, since I'm a mixure therefore do not belong anywhere. I once live in USA and loved it deeply because of Christians there. It's a heartbreak to see my beloved country USA keeps get cracked. Did I say such crazy things? I just wanted to give Americans here a non-Western Christian perspective. We non-Western Christians went through so much to obtain Christian faith and to face such ignorant insults from Americans... this is just beyond any comprehension. Maybe you guys should really lose Christian influence and see what kind of hell is that like.

      April 5, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • Frederica

      Q, I want students to be able to refuse to be taught that immoral lifestyles are normal or falsehood of big bang theories as the only possible explanation of our existence. Public schools teach immorality and sci-fi fiction as accepted facts.

      April 5, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • Q

      @Frederica – You are not describing "religious freedom". You are describing exclusion of facts because they contradict a particular religious view. With respect to science, evolution and the big bang are the accepted mainstream scientific explanations and are the only explanations supported by the concordant physical evidence provided by the relevant scientific disciplines. That evolution and the big bang occurred are demonstrable facts (though granted, why they happened or if a supernatural first cause initiated the processes are beyond scientific investigation). Public schools teach these subjects because they represent the overwhelming scientific consensus, however, students are free to challenge and are not required to "believe". The U.S. has a long history of court cases addressing "alternative explanations" and again and again, mainstream science has prevailed because it is based on actual scientific evidence. Still, these "alternative explanations" are available to students in comparative religious/mythology courses...

      April 5, 2011 at 1:18 am |
    • Q

      @Frederica – Regarding "immoral" lifestyles, well, this is truly a subjective declaration. I can only as-sume you're referring to ho-mo-se-xuality. In any case, teaching students that it exists, that same-s-ex couples can and do raise families and that physical or verbal hara-ssment relating to ho-mo-se-xuality is both illegal and contrary to civil society again, does not represent a violation of a student's ability to freely express their religious convictions (i.e. a student is perfectly free to say their religious beliefs do not condone ho-mo-se-xuality, they believe it's a "sin", etc) however and again, not at the expense of disrupting an educational environment or in the process of physically or verbally hara-ssing other students. Lastly, parents are always free to remove their children from public schools and either home-school them or place them in a religious school which will teach their particular beliefs.

      April 5, 2011 at 1:28 am |
    • Peace2All

      @ Q

      As always... well said !

      Peace...

      April 5, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • Janet McCarthy

      How could you possibly feel unsafe by saying where you are from? That makes no sense. Nobody could possible figure out who you are from simply telling you country or ethnicity.

      You just evade. I am not impressed with your lack of honor and honesty. There is no point reading your posts – you cannot be trusted.

      April 5, 2011 at 2:41 am |
    • Frederica

      Janet, I never asked you to read my post or to trust me. Aren't you too self-conscious here? I wouldn't care about your ethnicity or where you are from though I talked to you assuming you to be American. If someone attacked America, I may defend America and make them think I'm American. That's what happens here.

      April 5, 2011 at 5:46 am |
    • Frederica

      Q, no, the issue is larger each passing year. Science clearly indicates Intelligent Design but is dismissed, and there is no normal morality to be present except secularism. Public schools also screwed in history as well. People are barred from higher position if they don't comply to the indoctrination. It resembles a communist country. If USA claims to be a free country, it's time for a major operation – again.

      April 5, 2011 at 5:56 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Q, your posts are great.

      April 5, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Janet McCarthy

      As I said, you are not honest. By your own admission, you lie, "If someone attacked America, I may defend America and make them think I'm American."

      April 5, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • Waffle Bob

      She's from Viet Nam.

      April 5, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      Frederika.. Science does not clearly show intelligent design is a valid explanation. Intelligent design is an attempt to squeeze god into a natural occurrence, and it does not work.. so it is easier to blame science, and allow god to be a victim, than actually come up with proof for ID.

      April 5, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Frederica

      Janet, I'm not obligated to tell you anything. Others mistook me as American before and I told them I'm not.
      EvolvedDNA, the universe and our existence are telling we are created. Atheists just do not want to admit the Creator.

      April 5, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Frederica

      EvolvedDNA, my comments get blocked if I explain anything more extensively. I'm sorry for the simplified reply. I'm tired of this system and this is what I can do for you. Keep reading related subjects. Your story hasn't convinced 6 billion people.

      April 5, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • Q

      @ Frederica – Our tendency to see patterns and infer meaning from otherwise senseless or randomly derived information is called "apophenia" and when it occurs within a religious context, it's called "pareidolia" (check out Wiki for more info here). Apophenia and pareidolia are not forms of "evidence".

      Intelligent design is a similar phenomena in that it takes a purely natural "design" process (e.g. evolution) and places a supernatural meaning/purpose behind the observations. But further still, it is based solely on an argument of incredulity, i.e., I don't believe (understand how) evolution can produce "X". Then it continues this first logical fallacy to contend a simple erroneous dichotomy, i.e. if (a flawed/limited understanding of) evolution can't explain something, God is the only alternative explanation.

      Intelligent design is a viable philosophical position if it's source is placed in the hands of a first cause creator or in a capricious intermittent tinkerer, however, there is actually no scientific evidence supporting the notion and significant evidence against the premise (e.g. numerous examples of "bad design" from appendixes that rupture to male ni-pples). Intelligent design proponents themselves confess they cannot distinguish between "actual design" and "apparent design" via purely natural processes. The reason is simply because when we typically deduce "design", we're basing this on an understanding of the mechanisms of production. All of the analogies for intelligent design comparing man-made objects to biological structures fail because they are based on our understanding of the mechanisms humans use to produce man-made objects. Intelligent design, like all creationism, offers no mechanism beyond magic and is simply not scientific. This was clearly established during the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District trial in Pennsylvania, 2005, where "intelligent design" failed to provide any semblance of legitimate supporting evidence despite the efforts of its most prominent advocates. From the fossil record, to genetics, to past and present real time experiments in the lab and in nature, evolution stands as the only explanation for biodiversity consistently supported by the physical evidence and is routinely validated in its ability to make predictions about future observations. You may be surprised to learn that there are many devout Christians who accept the overwhelming evidence for evolution, i.e. Theistic Evolutionists, and find no conflict with the central tenets of their faith. Francis Collins, current director of the National Inst-itutes of Health is one notable Theistic Evolutionist and examples like this demolish arguments that evolution is some conspiracy to "deny God" (e.g. Google "evolution" and "clergy letter"). Evolution is a story. It's the story of life on this planet and while 6 billion people might not all accept it, it is accepted by every national academy of science within every nation worth mentioning.

      April 6, 2011 at 4:58 am |
    • Q

      @Peace and Tom, Tom – Thanks!

      April 6, 2011 at 5:01 am |
    • Frederica

      @Q, thank you. You look having written some intelligent things. I have given upon the guy Reality long ago, but I'd appreciate if you could write shorter comments. The academy of science belongs to philosophy outside of their sphere in issues such as the beginning. Everyone stands upon their desirable premises and there is no reason to trust them when the subject does not belongs to them; the reason they cannot convince outer groups and never will. They may indoctrinate willing atheists, but all are faith groups and creation is a lot more likely what had happened.

      April 6, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • Frederica

      Q, Academia is like a guild. They support themselves and only outsiders get deceived and controlled. Evolution is illogical in its foundation. We commoners are just putting up with atheistic scientists' absurd claims because they speak their vocab in their arena.

      April 6, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      This post doesn't even make any sense at all. How is "academia like a guild", you nitwit? Do you even think before you start typing your idiocy? Or does it just pop out of you like a fart?

      April 6, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Q.. excellent post..unfortunately the facts appear to fall on sterile minds. I am sorry for those who fail to miss the beauty of evolution, and the way we are so connected to the universe in such a personal way.. the iron in our blood, the carbon in our cells...all forged in the death throes of stars eons ago.. spectacular. The fact that the atoms in our bodies are as old as the universe, and may have part of anything prior to being being you and I.

      April 6, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • No One Is Safe

      @frederica – you are seriously demented. please seek psychiatric help immediately.

      April 6, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Frederica

      @EvolvedDNA, you just proved my point. You always do.
      @No-O-I-S, people ridicule normal people like you do for all ages. My oinion has decent causes. You are brainwashed by your own preferances. Just research instead of treating other perspectives absurd unless those are really groundless and refutable.

      April 7, 2011 at 3:39 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      Frederica ...I have not proved any of your comments, unless you agree that we are connected to the universe. You may, as usual ,have only read the first few lines, and as is typical of people who use the bible, totally misinterpreted the comments ..

      April 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Frederica

      EvolvedDNA, what I mean is you atheists are spiritual to the core regarding your claims. Nothing to do scientific any more than other groups.

      April 7, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • Frederica

      I trust the Bible more than atheistic scientists in case of disagreements because the Bible is more likely to be right by logic and reasoning. Their explanation on the beginning only goes back to the question and they have no answers on molecules' programmed activities. Existance of a Programmer only satifies even regarding on a single cell. We don't need a galaxy to prove God.

      April 8, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      OK, who's got the Idiot Translator Ring?

      April 8, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  11. Frederica

    Parents should decide what to be taught and how to be taught at schools, not governments.

    April 4, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Which parents? You? Why should you decide what my child is taught?

      April 5, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Frederica

      Tom, all parents. That's why government should pay for private schools if they are accredited.

      April 6, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You are an idiot. The separation of church and state are sacrosanct here. Who cares what they do in Viet Nam?

      April 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Frederica

      Tom, state should separate it from atheism and secularism as well as they are getting religious in nature. No favortism, please.

      April 7, 2011 at 3:34 am |
    • Frederica

      Tom, USA must meet the highest standard of fairness because of how she was birthed and raised and how much she was given. I'm not Vietnamese. It looks that nation is recovering from brutal reign of atheists in recent years.

      April 7, 2011 at 5:54 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Could you BE more of a moron, Freddy?

      April 8, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.