Louisiana State Representative Valarie Hodges recently voted for a bill to allow state funds to pay for student vouchers to private religious schools – the bill passed. But when she learned that some of these vouchers were to be used for Muslim private schools, she changed her mind and voiced support for a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the bill she had just helped pass.
Quotes from Rep. Hodges make it painfully clear that she lacks even a basic understanding of freedom of religion and the problems with state-sanctioned religious discrimination:
“I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools,”
“I liked the idea of giving parents the option of sending their children to a public school or a Christian school,”
“Unfortunately it will not be limited to the Founders’ religion…We need to insure that it does not open the door to fund radical Islam schools. There are a thousand Muslim schools that have sprung up recently. I do not support using public funds for teaching Islam anywhere here in Louisiana.”
The newspaper article was spot-on when they reported that “Hodges mistakenly assumed that religious meant Christian.” I think Americans United sums it up best:
“Hodges’ bigotry is perhaps only rivaled by her ignorance of constitutional and legal principles. Of course Muslim schools will qualify for funding under a voucher plan. When programs like this are set up that dole out benefits to religious schools, the government can’t play favorites. That’s basic.”