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Bethel Academy has the right to its beliefs, but the state doesn’t have to fund them

Bethel Christian Academy in Jessup User Upload Caption: Bethel Christian Academy in Jessup.
Bethel Christian Academy in Jessup User Upload Caption: Bethel Christian Academy in Jessup. (Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun)

In Liz Bowie’s reporting on the potential case of Bethel vs. Maryland, my viewpoint on this issue is very simple and in line with the state (“Maryland banned a school from voucher program over anti-LGBT views. It says that violates religious freedom,” July 15). With my experience as a public school student and the knowledge I gleaned from government class, I provide the following analysis.

Bethel Christian Academy is a private school. So, when Maryland supports the school with vouchers, it is a statement of outside support rather than an obligation. Thus, if the state does pull funding from a private school, it is perfectly within its rights to do so, as there was no obligation to support the school in the first place. By pulling funding, Maryland is not stopping the school from teaching or pushing against it (if it did then a case for violation of religious freedoms can be made), but rather simply withdrawing funding that the school was not entitled to from the beginning (“There’s a big difference between the Colo. gay wedding cake case and Maryland denying an anti-gay Christian school state funds,” July 16).

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However, in the article, an attorney for the school argued that “the teaching of the school should be no responsibility of the state.” But this is exactly my point. If Maryland cannot have influence over Bethel’s curriculum (as it does with public schools), then Bethel doesn’t deserve funding that will be used to discriminate against people in the first place. As long as Maryland isn’t actively trying to stop Bethel from teaching or purposely attempting to shut the school down, then Maryland hasn’t done anything that Bethel can really build a reasonable enough case around to not only gain support in the courts, but also maintain its image in this time of political tension.

If this funding was being given out of goodwill and is used to discriminate against students, it is the duty of Maryland to withdraw its funding to show its opposition to this practice.

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Daniel He, West Friendship

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