ADL: AmeriCorps Decision Crosses Threshold to Weaken Church-State Separation
New York, NY, March 9, 2005 …The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep disappointment by a U.S. Court of Appeals decision permitting government-funded AmeriCorps teachers to provide religious instruction in religious schools. The decision was handed down on March 8 by the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Daniel S. Alter, ADL Civil Rights Director, issued the following statement in response to the decision:
In finding the challenged program constitutional, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has crossed a new threshold, allowing AmeriCorps teachers, paid with taxpayer dollars, to teach religion within religious schools. Unfortunately, the Court of Appeals decision will provide additional support for those seeking to channel public funds to religious institutions through faith-based initiatives.
We continue to believe that such initiatives are not only constitutionally problematic, but also bad public policy. When the government provides personnel or direct financial assistance to religious institutions, the ability of those religious institutions to act free from government interference is necessarily compromised.
ADL participated in the case, American Jewish Congress v. Corporation for National and Community Service, as amicus curiae.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.