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Tax money given to religious groups is unconstitutional

I would like to compliment Cheryl Lone on her excellent letter to the editor in the March 31 newspaper. Her comments regarding the school voucher program in Indiana were informational and poignant. Taking money away from public schools is another way of transferring more money to wealthier people as Ms. Lone makes quite clear by letting us know the state now classifies low income as $149,000. She also makes reference to several items such as what is low income, the use of tax dollars for road projects and our area being poorer than many parts of the state. One other item in her letter was the use of tax dollars for private religious schools. This topic I would like to explore further.

Many people believe that our founding fathers established the motto In God We Trust. I recently heard a representative defending religion in government activities by saying our nation’s founding fathers coined this phrase. She was using the phrase as justification for school vouchers for private religious schools. Nothing could be further from the truth. A creator is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, but the ruling document, the Constitution, makes no reference to a god. In fact, it specifically forbids the government from establishing or endorsing any kind of religion.

The founding fathers were long gone and deceased when, at the urging of some religious zealots, the phrase In God We Trust was incorporated into government money around the time of the Civil War. Also, the words “under God” were not part of the original pledge of allegiance. Those words were added in 1954, not that long ago. Also, most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were slave owners, not what I would call men of true religious faith. So, the idea of God or religion being a main part of the founding of our country is a misconception handed down during more recent years.

This brings me to my central point. I resent my tax dollars being used for the teaching of religion to children in private religious schools, whether they represent Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Jewish or any other religious doctrine. The state legislature should not be passing laws giving our tax money to any religious group. To me, it is unconstitutional.

Maybe someday in the future we will have a supreme court that will finally adhere to the founding fathers’ wisdom and remove religion from government operations and edicts.

Spence Wade | Leavenworth, Ind.

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