The question of whether government(s) should compel taxpayers to support religion-based and other private schools has vexed the United States for over two centuries. Controversies over this question extend back to the beginning of the American republic, but have been intensifying over the past half century, reaching crisis proportions since the elections of 2010. Combined with a renewed drive to provide public funding for religious and other private schools has been an unprecedented number of assaults on the public schools that serve 90 percent of our K-12 students. Together, this two-front war on freedom of religion and public education constitutes nothing short of a major national crisis.
In this position paper, Ed Doerr shows how this crisis is among the most serious in our history, and how it could have profound, perhaps irreversible, effects on our future. Doerr argues that Americans have both the power and the duty to end the threats to our most important principles and institutions.
Edd Doerr is president of Americans for Religious Liberty, past president of the American Humanist Association, and a columnist for Free Inquirymagazine. A well-published writer, he is a former public school teacher (history, government, Spanish) and since 1966 has been a full-time professional in the religious freedom field.