Ron Paul
2001 Ron Paul Chapter 6

Honoring The Success Of Catholic Schools

6 February 2001

Home Page   Contents
Congressional Record (Page H184)   Cached

2001 Ron Paul 6:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join the sponsors of the H. Res. 28 in honoring the success of Catholic Schools in providing a quality education to millions of children around the country. However, I am concerned that this resolution also contains language that violates the sprit, if not the letter, of the establishment clause of the first amendment, thus insulting the millions of religious Americans who are struggling to educate their children free from federal control and endangering religious liberty.

2001 Ron Paul 6:2
The success of Catholic schools has been remarkable. Catholic schools operating in the inner-city have been able to provide an excellent education to students written off by the educational establishment as “unteachable.” Contrary to the claims of its critics, Catholic schools do not turn away large numbers of children in order to limit their enrollment to the “best and the brightest.” In fact, a few years ago the Archdiocese of New York offered to enroll all students who had been expelled from New York’s public schools! Mr. Speaker, I have introduced legislation, the Family Education Freedom Act (H.R. 368) which would help more parents afford to send their children to Catholic, or other religious schools, by providing them with a $3,000 tax credit for Kñ12 education expenses.

2001 Ron Paul 6:3
While I join with the sponsors of this legislation in praising Catholic schools, I am disturbed by the language explicitly endorsing the goals of the United States Catholic Conference. The Catholic Conference is an organization devoted to spreading and advancing Catholicism. While the Conference may advance other social goods through its work, those purposes are secondary to its primary function of advancing the Catholic faith. This is especially true in the case of Catholic schools which were founded and are operated with the explicit purpose of intergrating Catholic doctrine into K–12 education.

2001 Ron Paul 6:4
Therefore, even though Congress intends to honor the ways Catholic schools help fulfill a secular goal, the fact is Congress cannot honor Catholic schools without endorsing efforts to promulgate the Catholic faith. By singling out one sect over another, Congress is playing favors among religions. While this does not compare to the type of religious persecution experienced by many of the founders of this country, it is still an example of the type of federal favoritism among religions that the first amendment forbids.

2001 Ron Paul 6:5
What is the superintendent of a Baptist private school or a Pentecostal home schooler going to think when reading this resolution? That Congress does not think they provide children with an excellent education or that Congress does not deem their religious goals worthy of federal endorsement? In a free republic, the legislature should not be in the business of favoring one religion over another. I would also like to point out the irony of considering government favoritism of religion in the context of praising the Catholic schools, when early in this century Catholic schools where singled out for government-sanctioned discrimination because they were upholding the teachings of the Catholic Church.

2001 Ron Paul 6:6
Allowing Congress to single out certain religions for honors not only insults those citizens whose faith is not recognized by Congress, it also threatens the religious liberty of those honored by Congress. This is because when the federal government begins evaluating religious institutions, some religious institutions may be tempted to modify certain of their teachings in order to curry favor with political leaders. I will concede that religious institutions may not water down their faith in order to secure passage of “Sense of Congress resolutions,” however, the belief that it is proper to judge religious institutions by how effectively they fulfill secular objectives is at the root of the proposals to entangle the federal government with state-approved religions by providing taxpayer dollars to religious organizations in order to preform various social services. Providing taxpayer money to churches creates the very real risk that a church may, for example, feel the need to downplay its teaching against abortion or euthanasia in order to maintain favor with a future pro-abortion administration and thus not lose its federal funding.

2001 Ron Paul 6:7
Of course, the idea that politicians should bestow favors on religions based on how well they fulfill the aims of the politicians is one that should be insulting to all believers no matter their faith. After all, despite what a few of my colleagues seem to think, Mr. Speaker, we in Congress are neither omnipotent nor divine.

2001 Ron Paul 6:8
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I join the sponsors of H. Res. 28 in their admiration for the work of Catholic schools. However, I also have reservations about the language singling out the religious goals of one faith for praise.


2001 Ron Paul 6:1 establishment clause probably should be capitalized: Establishment Clause. Also, first amendment probably should be capitalized: First Amendment.

2001 Ron Paul 6:5 In early in this century, Ron Paul probably meant the expired twentieth century and not the twenty-first century, underway when the sentence was authored.

2001 Ron Paul 6:6 preform possibly should be perform.

Previous   Next

Home Page   Contents   Concordance
  Links   E-mail list.