Monday, December 15, 2014
Ohio Governor Forces Religious Affiliation on Tax Payer-Funded Program
Schools need a religious partner if they want any of Gov. Kasich's student mentorship money
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Gov. John Kasich's $10 million plan to bring mentors into Ohio's schools for students now has a surprise religious requirement – one that goes beyond what is spelled out in the legislation authorizing it.
Any school district that wants a piece of that state money must partner with both a church and a business – or a faith-based organization and a non-profit set up by a business to do community service.
No business and no faith-based partner means no state dollars.
Buddy Harris, a senior policy analyst for the Ohio Department of Education, told the gathering of church and non-profit representatives that each application must include a school district (or charter school) plus a business and a place of worship or faith-based organization in its partnership.
Other non-profits can be involved, he said, only if they involve all three of the other groups. Partnerships between just schools, business and a community non-profit won't qualify.
"The faith-based organization is clearly at the heart of the vision of the governor," Harris said after the session. "We do not forsee any proseletyzing happening between mentors and students," Harris said. "That's not really what we're seeking."
"The Good Lord has a purpose for each and every one of them (students) and you're helping them to find it," Kasich said..."
Churches and faith-based organizations were always intended to be included Kasich's "Community Connectors" mentoring plan, right from his announcement of the plan at his State of the State speech in February.
What's new is that Kasich and ODE are requiring them and raising their status above other community non-profits.
I'm wondering if Gov. Kasich will accept affiliations from Muslims, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Scientology, or even Satanists? If his harebrained partnerships don't accept these or non-main-stream religious affiliations, this ill-thought-out, unconstitutional requirement will be overturned. A waste of time and money for Ohio's taxpayers, and another attempt by Christianists to have a say in how everyone's tax money is spent.
The program's policy analyst, Buddy Harris claims there will be no proseletyzing by religious organizations, but Governor Kasich's words most definitely contradict that promise: "The Good Lord has a purpose for each and every one of them (students) and you're helping them to find it," Kasich said..."
Governor Kasich apparently doesn't understand the fact that not all Americans believe that a god "has a purpose for each and every one of them." By claiming such, he is imposing his beliefs on all the tax-payers of Ohio. This is just plain wrong, and this program will be challenged.
Senator Barry Goldwater:
"Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”