Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack supports the use of tax payer dollars, via school vouchers, to fund Scientology and other religious teachings that many find controversial.
In 1997, then a 4th District Court of Appeals judge, Roggensack wrote the dissenting opinion that would be the basis for the landmark 1998 Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling upholding the law that enables tax dollars to be spent on religious schools, including Scientology, through school vouchers. Roggensack's reasoning was that as long as the government "maintained neutrality" on which religious schools a parent chose, it would not violate seperation of church and state provisions in the Wisconsin and U.S. Constitution.
People may scoff at the notion of a Scientology school receiving taxpayer dollars in Wisconsin, but there is no way to prevent it, because doing would violate the "maintained neutrality" guidelines that Roggensack initially set-up: You can't say one religion is acceptable and another one is not. And the idea isn't far-fetched: Scientology has made creating elementary schools a priority and elementary schools are popping-up all over the country.
This issue recently came up in Louisiana, where Republicans passed a voucher bill and wrongly thought they were funding "religious" schools of the Christian variety and were shocked to find that taxpayer money could be spent on Scientology and, even worse, a MUSLIM school:
Stakes escalated last week when, to the frustration of some lawmakers, the Islamic School of Greater New Orleans applied for federal funds under the voucher program. Republican state Rep. Kenneth Havard objected to the Islamic School's request for 38 government-paid student vouchers, saying he opposed any bill that "will fund Islamic teaching," the Associated Press reports.
"I won't go back home and explain to my people that I supported this," he said.
"It'll be the Church of Scientology next year," Democratic state Rep. Sam Jones told AP.
I wonder what Rep. Havard would say if he knew that up here in Wisconsin we've been using tax payer voucher dollars to fund Islamic schools for years, via Milwaukee's voucher program? In fact... I'm starting to wonder... would Republicans be as gung-ho for vouchers if they were enlightened, like Rep. Havard was, to the fact that vouchers for "religious school" means funding religious teachings outside of Christianity?