Missouri state senator seeks funding for religious schools

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 | 9:38 a.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY — A Missouri state senator said religious groups should not be barred from receiving state funds to operate their schools.

Scott Rupp, R-St. Louis County, is sponsoring legislation to abolish language in the state Constitution that prohibits public funding for religious groups to operate schools.

Rupp said the ban is outdated and discriminates against religious institutions. He said religious schools could help educate students in unaccredited districts if they got state funding. Schools in Kansas City, St. Louis and Riverview Gardens in St. Louis County are unaccredited.

A spokeswoman for the Anti-Defamation League said the measure could force Missouri to pay for schools run by groups with discriminatory ideologies, such as white supremacist groups.

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gregory brown February 15, 2012 | 11:21 a.m.

Mr. Rupp's proposal flies in the face of two centuries of mutually beneficial status since State supported religion was disestablished. Some church affiliated schools undeniably do a great job educating their students in general terms but every one of them indoctrinates with the sponsor's peculiar dogmas, and some are indeed "peculiar" in the other sense of the word.

It would be more constructive if not necessarily immediately productive to spend public funds for rehabilitation and restructuring of the unaccredited schools. That would be for general benefit and a proper way to proceed without tampering with a part of the State constitution that stands as a genuine wall separating distinctive bodies in the social fabric.

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