I wrote not long about the horrible decision in Louisiana to fund religious schools. Apparently, some conservative Christians there agree -- but only when it means funding non-Christian schools. Funding Christians schools is just fine, though.
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty
Case in point is Rep. Valarie Hodges (R-Watson), a Tea Party supported conservative who recently expressed outrage that Gov. Bobby Jindal's reforms of the Louisiana's school system would mean that Muslims and other non-Christians would be eligible for funds on an equal basis alongside Christians.
Put another way, Valarie Hodges thinks it's outrageous that the state government treat Christians and non-Christians as equals. That makes her a religious bigot. Her insistence that Christian education should be supported by the state makes her a theocrat.
"I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America's Founding Fathers' religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools," the District 64 Representative said Monday.
"I liked the idea of giving parents the option of sending their children to a public school or a Christian school," Hodges said.
Hodges mistakenly assumed that "religious" meant "Christian."
Source: Livingston Parish News (via: Friendly Atheist)
I'm not sure how much of a "mistake" it really was; in my experience, so many conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists really only ever mean "Christianity" when they talk about religion -- especially when the topic is religious freedom. When you get right down to it, then, she's simply being more honest than many conservative evangelicals. This is clearly what so many of them believe, but few are willing to say openly and directly.
Funny how the same group also has so many believers who deny that Christianity is a religion...
"Unfortunately it will not be limited to the Founders' religion," Hodges said. "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."
But opening the door to fund radical Christian schools that teach lies and racism... that's OK for Rep. Valarie Hodges, right?
In many ways, this is yet another case of conservative Christians trying to get special benefits of privileges for their own religion, then howling with outrage when non-Christians step up with the expectation that they will actually be treated as equals. Atheists and Wiccans have experienced this numerous times in the past. I can guarantee that if either of those groups tried to start schools and get state funding, there would be a lot of complaints.
But sometimes, that's the only way to get Christians to agree to eliminate these unconstitutional favors for religion. They'll defend them as expressions of religious freedom so long as Christians are benefitting, but they'll suddenly learn to value the separation of church and state when someone else benefits as well.
If you don't want to fund private Muslim or Wiccan schools, then don't fund private religious schools at all. It's just that simple.