The Supreme Court will take up the issue of church-state separation in a case involving Christian schools in Montana on Wednesday, NBC News is reporting.
At issue is the state’s establishment of a program in 2015 to provide a tax credit of up to $150 a year for people and business that donate to private schools.
In turn the organizations that receive the contributions hand out financial aid to parents, who make the decision on which private school their children should attend, the network news noted. Ninety percent of the private schools that signed up had religious affiliations.
Right after the program started, a state agency stopped any of the money from going to religious schools. The agency cited a state Constitution that prohibits any direct or indirect appropriation or payment ... to aid any church, school ... controlled in whole or in part by any church.”
Kendra Espinoza is one of three mothers from low-income families, who sued to challenge the restriction, NBC News said. Espinoza has used the money to send her two children to Stillwater Christian School in Kalispell.
"I chose that school because of the Christian-based education,” she said. “It comes with a lot more of the values that I want to teach my children." interview.
The Montana Supreme Court had ruled the program was in violation of the state’s Constitution, but allowed it to continue while an appeal was filed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The plaintiffs argue that Montana’s Constitution is “bigoted” towards religion and violates the First Amendment’s religious free exercise clause, ABC News reported.
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