FFRF protests Pence’s Madison visit promoting school vouchers

 

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is holding a picket to protest Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the Wisconsin Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 28, to promote school vouchers.

Pence (“I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order”) is headlining a noon-1 p.m. event in the rotunda to celebrate “National School Choice Week.” FFRF is urging those who oppose religious vouchers and support secular public education to turn out to protest Pence’s theocratic policies. FFRF encourages people to bring signs supporting state/church separation or freethought. Voucher proponents have nabbed every quadrant outside of the Capitol, so folks are invited to meet at the State Street entrance of the Capitol (by the Forward statue) no later than 11:45 a.m. and look for FFRF signs and banners.

Vouchers programs are most often an excuse to funnel taxpayer money to religious schools, as FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott points out in an op-ed written for the Wisconsin State Journal that will be published on Tuesday. For example, when Pence was governor of Indiana, 99 percent of the schools participating in that state’s school voucher program were religious. And in Wisconsin, with both the Milwaukee and statewide voucher programs, religious schools dominate the landscape. Only one of the 254 schools in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program is not religious.

Wisconsin is ground zero when it comes to raiding our public schools to enrich religiously segregated schools. The alarming push to force states and taxpayers to subsidize religious schools is shown by the Espinoza case before the U.S. Supreme Court, which last week heard oral arguments. (Read more.)

A member of the Wisconsin Assembly is introducing on Tuesday a voucher accountability bill at a joint news conference with the public school advocacy organization the Wisconsin Public Education Network.

“I want to have a successful public education system,” state Rep. Jonathan Brostoff told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Public education is the soul of Wisconsin,” he said, adding that the voucher program “siphons resources” from public schools.

Pence’s visit to the Wisconsin Statehouse in the service of theocratic schemes that harm us all cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

Photo by Gage Skidmore.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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