Defending Christian Taxpayers and the Religious Freedom of Families

This week’s deadline for filing your 2012 U.S. income taxes is a good reminder that many organizations you care about depend on Alliance Defending Freedom to defend their tax credits and tax-exempt status.  Just this month, we’ve intervened in two cases to protect your religious freedom from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, who once again are proving that their idea of liberty does not include parents deciding where their children are educated.

On April 12, our attorneys joined Cornerstone Policy Research and Liberty Institute in filing a friend-of-the-court brief with a New Hampshire court in defense of students attending private schools and a state tax credit program for businesses that wish to help.  The program allows taxpaying businesses to donate private funds to private scholarship organizations, then claim a tax credit for the donation. The scholarship organizations then provide the donated funds to families like yours who can then use them at any private school, religious or non-religious.

“Parents should be able to choose what’s best for their own children,” says Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor. “New Hampshire’s program allows businesses to help make that happen, and nothing about that violates the state constitution, as the state’s legal history clearly demonstrates.”

In January, the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed suit against the tax credit program, claiming such a choice violates the state constitution. But, as our brief explains, “No New Hampshire court has ever interpreted these provisions to mean that religious schools are ineligible to participate in neutral aid programs such as this one, especially one that does not directly involve taxpayer funds.”

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys led the successful defense of a very similar Arizona program two years ago in a winning case at the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The ACLU failed in its attempt to eliminate school choice for hundreds of thousands of students nationwide, and its arguments fail here, too,” says Senior Counsel David Cortman. “The history of New Hampshire’s constitution simply does not support the attacks being made against this program. The people who’ll suffer most if this lawsuit succeeds are New Hampshire’s students.”

Over in California, some state legislators have proposed a bill designed to strip many non-profit youth groups of their tax-exempt status if they don’t abandon their long-held values and admit into membership people who reject the values that built the organizations. Among those at risk: Little League, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Special Olympics, American Youth Soccer Organization, Future Business Leaders of America, and many youth-oriented religious groups.

“Youth organizations that have benefitted America for generations should be free from harassment by politicians who don’t agree with the very values that have made these groups successful,” says Cortman. “The Constitution protects the freedom of youth organizations like the Boy Scouts to promote the values that have defined them as an organization and to ensure that their leaders and members adhere to those values.”

Alliance Defending Freedom has sent a letter to legislators outlining the significant legal and policy problems of the proposed bill. Thirty-nine California attorneys – from the more than 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom worldwide – also signed the letter.

Please be in prayer for these attorneys, as they work tirelessly to defend your family’s religious freedoms, and to block those who would silence the voice of people of faith in our nation today.

Author: Alan Sears