Republicans found another means of enriching religion with taxpayer dollars meant to aid Americans suffering the horrid effects of Trump’s plague and economic devastation.
When filthy rich, and highly-unqualified, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos began her quest to shift all taxpayer dollars intended for public education to private, for-profit religious schools, evangelicals and Republicans were ecstatic. After all, money allocated to sustain small businesses ravaged by Trump’s plague and economic disaster was just recently handed over to churches and clergy even though those institutions pay no taxes because they claim they are not businesses.
Apparently it was not enough to use coronavirus stimulus dollars to support churches and clergy at the expense of struggling small businesses, so DeVos made sure that even more taxpayer dollars were given to private religious schools.
Particularly exciting to the evangelical Republican sect was DeVos’ stated intent that as Education Secretary she would reform the public education system to “advance god’s kingdom.” Of course her secondary goal was robbing funding intended for public schools to give for-profit corporate schools the keys to the education budget vault, but it is noteworthy that no small number of those private schools are founded and run by evangelicals.
DeVos’ theft of taxpayer dollars fulfills both of her goals and one can only imagine that the religious Republican cult and dirty Don Trump are celebrating another fleecing of the taxpayers; especially because the theft involves hurting the poor to advance religion.
When Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), it designated billions for public schools to be distributed to public school districts based on the number of low-income students they enroll. However, DeVos ignored the congressional mandate and issued a directive from the Department of Education ordering that the money belongs to private and religious school students; despite the fact that fewer than 5% of those children are poor.
Even before Trump single-handedly decimated the economy, children in low-income neighborhoods were disadvantaged because they, and their school districts, lacked the resources to participate in digital learning opportunities. Democrats in the House understood the dilemma and appropriated funds in the CARES stimulus bill to aid those students in low-income school districts with equipment and Internet access to continue learning while schools were closed.
Those funds, like the funds meant to assist small businesses suffering Trump’s economic disaster, were prime for theft by the likes of DeVos who seized on the opportunity to steal those funds and transfer them directly to private religious schools as an integral part of using taxpayer dollars to “advance god’s kingdom.”
It is noteworthy that DeVos is unabashed in declaring her intent to spend taxpayer dollars on private and religious schools at the expense of public schools. The evangelical extremist stated:
“There are not enough philanthropic dollars to fund the need of [private religious] education…versus what is currently being spent every year on public education…Our desire is to confront this culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s Kingdom.”
Although Republicans are wont to claim America was founded as a Christian nation and forcing taxpayers to fund religion is the intent of the Founding Fathers, nothing is farther from the historical truth. None other than Founding Father Thomas Jefferson stated emphatically that:
“No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.”
Not only is handing out money allocated for small businesses to members of the clergy and their churches directly “supporting religious worship, place[s] or ministries,” sending taxpayer money to private religious schools is obviously supporting religious places and ministries.
Jefferson’s statement fits squarely with the rest of the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers intent that the religious clauses in the First Amendment serve as “a wall of separation” between church and state. Since the rise of the so-called moral majority that concept has been systematically attacked and any pushback is treated as an attack on Christians’ religious liberty.
No-one denies religious people their liberty to worship as they please, but the idea of Republicans, especially Trump, supporting them with taxpayer money is a gross abomination as well as contrary to the Founders’ intent in the First Amendment.
Allowing Republicans to give churches and clergy money allotted for “real businesses” who are struggling due to Trump’s economic catastrophe is beyond cruel, but it is unconscionable that Trump’s Education Secretary is taking money allotted for low-income public schools and giving it to private religious schools.
The real tragedy is there is hardly any pushback from the people because for some bizarre reason too many Americans still consider it a mortal sin to utter an unflattering word about Republicans handing taxpayer dollars to the evangelical (Christian) religion. For dog’s sake, it is a horror that Republicans are willingly allowing them to shape domestic policy, but it is an atrocity that Republicans are granting them nearly unfettered access to taxpayers’ money.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.