Peter Greene: Oklahoma AG Declares Taxpayer-Funded Religious Charter Schools Legal
In Oklahoma, a lame duck attorney general has taken the next step in requiring taxpayers to fund religious education.
In a fifteen-page opinion issued December 1, Attorney General John O’Connor argued that in the wake of Trinity Lutheran, Espinoza, and Carson, he believed that SCOTUS would “very likely” find Oklahoma’s charter law restriction on nonsectarian or religious charters unconstitutional. Therefore, his opinion is that the state should no longer follow the law forbidding sectarian or religious charter schools.
It’s not a surprise that we’re here–the Supreme Court has been marching us steadily in this direction, with the last step taken by Carons v. Makin.
Justice Sotomayor, when dissenting on Carson, noted that
in just a few years, the Court has upended constitutional doctrine, shifting from a rule that permits States to decline to fund religious organizations to one that requires States in many circumstances to subsidize religious indoctrination with taxpayer dollars.
Given the previous decisions, an attempt by charter supporters to extend religion to charter schools was probably inevitable.
Charter supporters, including Governor Kevin Sitt and State Superintendent of Public Instruction-elect Ryan Walters praised the decision. Officials of the Catholic Church in Oklahoma, the church likely to go after the taxpayer funding made available by this opinion (there are reports that they have an application for a Catholic virtual charter school ready to go), also praised the decision, as did officials of the American Federation for Children, the pro-privatization group with connections to Betsy DeVos.
The potential complications are many. If the taxpayers of Oklahoma are going to be compelled to fund religious charter schools, which religions will qualify for those dollars, and who will decide?
Read the full article here.Oklahoma AG Declares Taxpayer-Funded Religious Charter Schools Legal (forbes.com)