Lieberman has enumerated five basic arguments in favor of educational vouchers. He claims that such vouchers would: 1) protect the religious freedom of parents and students, 2) result in taxpayer savings, 3) minimize social conflict, 4) better protect civil rights, and 5) improve educational services. Though each of these points is worthy of discussion, I will focus only on the claim that vouchers would protect religious freedom. Contrary to Lieberman's claims, I contend that the various voucher and tax credit schemes present a serious threat to the religious autonomy of Christian schools and Christian home school parents.
The case I present against education vouchers is deeply rooted in the Christian theology of the family. In short, Scripture calls upon Christian parents to provide an education for their children which is founded upon the revelation of the Triune God and serves His ends (e.g., Deut. 6:1-25; Eph. 6:1-4; II Tim. 1:5; 3:14-17). As such, education is primarily and finally the responsibility of the family and not the state and, given its prescribed goals, it obviously cannot be a religiously neutral activity. This Scriptural outlook is also well entrenched in western law. Blackstone, in his masterful Commentaries on the Laws of England, wrote that the duties of parents "principally consist in three particulars; their maintenance, their protection, and their education." Blackstone further adds that it is the "duty of parents...[to] give them an education suitable to their station in life; a duty pointed out by reason, and of far the greatest importance of any." With this basic orientation in mind, I will turn to present a case against education vouchers.
David Young has appropriately summarized the questions surrounding government subsidization and religious education as an "internal tension between the establishment and free exercise clauses" of the First Amendment. Similarly, Lieberman has argued that the
controversy emerges from conflicts between the establishment clause and the free exercise clause. This conflict is especially acute under compulsory education. If parents who regard the public schools as anti-religious cannot afford private education, compulsory education is an interference with the free exercise of religion. If the government provides vouchers which make such attendance possible, the vouchers may be deemed contrary to the establishment clause. This dilemma lies at the heart of religious conflict over educational vouchers.In Smith v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County,  Chief Judge Brevard Hand made a bold and significant move. He ruled that the public schools were, in fact, teaching religion in violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment as applied to the states in the Fourteenth. I applauded this ruling because it was consistent with the facts and because it gave expression to a very important conclusion, namely, that education is inherently religious. The morality and religious tenets of a teacher are inescapably communicated in the classroom situation. The same is true for textbooks, which was the particular point at issue in Smith. This truth constitutes the best argument, not only for the freedom to choose private education for our children, but also ultimately for a call to prohibit the public funding of schools in general. We should argue, therefore, that the inescapably religious nature of education makes the very existence of tax funded schools a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
But we cannot have it both ways, as a voucher system assumes, for if we accept the premise that it is legitimate for tax-generated revenue to be dispensed to Christian parents to fund the Christian education of their children, then we have forfeited the battle to prevent our own tax dollars from being used to establish a religion which is repugnant to our faith. Voucher proponents do not mitigate the issue by arguing that vouchers are only temporary or indirect subsidies. The court has frequently ruled that the indirect nature of government aid does not exempt it from Constitutional restrictions. For example, in Committee for Public Education & Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, the challenged New York statute provided tuition reimbursement to the parents of children attending private schools. The court said the fact that the payment was to parents rather than to schools had no singular effect in establishing the permissibility of the tax relief. In fact, the payments' "inevitable effect was to subsidize and advance the religious mission of sectarian schools;" therefore, it violated the establishment clause, "whether or not the actual dollars given eventually found their way into sectarian institutions."
This approach has been affirmed even at the college level in spite of other rulings which made a distinction between the degrees of religious content at the college level compared with that at the elementary and secondary levels.
Another class of cases indicating the court's position with respect to indirect aid is found in School Districts of Grand Rapids v. Ball  and Aguilar v. Felton.  In both these cases, publicly funded teachers were teaching classes in private schools using materials provided by the public schools under Federal Title I provisions. In Aguilar, the court ruled, in an opinion written by Justice Brennan, that the program was "constitutionally flawed" because of the constitutional principle "that neither the State nor Federal Government shall promote or hinder a particular faith or faith generally through the advancement of benefits or through the excessive entanglement of church and state in the administration of those benefits." Justice Powell, in a separate concurring opinion stated that "the type of aid provided in New York by the Title I program amounts to a state subsidy of the parochial schools by relieving those schools of the duty to provide the remedial and supplemental education their children require." In each of these cases, one could produce an argument that the aid was indirect. But, as we have seen, the court has ruled consistently that such aid, except under the most limited of circumstances,  fails the test of constitutionality under the establishment clause either by failing to have a strictly secular effect or by promoting excessive entanglement between church and state.
The precedent for government sovereignty through subsidy is found not only in the judiciary but also in legislative action. In the particular issue at hand, the U.S. Congress has plainly established Federal sovereignty for educational institutions receiving government funds. In 20 USC [[section]]1681(a), Congress determined that any educational institution which receives Federal aid must conform to Federal non-discriminatory policies. Furthermore, in 20 USC [[section]] 1682, Congress has directed the relevant Federal agencies to promulgate regulations to assure compliance with [[section]]1681(a).
These provisions have no trouble sustaining a Constitutional challenge. As far back as Gibbons v. Ogden, the Court ruled that "the sovereignty of Congress, though limited to specified objects, is plenary to those objects..." Furthermore, the court said, the power "vested in Congress, is complete in itself, may be exercised to its utmost extent, and acknowledges no limitations, other than are prescribed in the constitution." Similarly, in Kentucky Whip and Collar v. Illinois Central Railroad  the court said that Federal power can neither be enlarged nor diminished by the exercise or non-exercise of state power. A 1917 case that attempted to limit congressional power in similar matters was considered an aberration and reversed in United States v. Darby in 1941. That the cases cited here concern interstate commerce rather than education is of no consequence in the present discussion for three reasons.
First, these cases concern the exercise of congressional power in areas acknowledged to lie within the purview of Congress, of which education (correctly or incorrectly) clearly is one. Second, the courts have directly applied arguments developed in interstate commerce cases to other congressional powers. As a significant example, the court applied an argument of the interstate commerce case, Wickard v. Filburn, in Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing TP;  specifically, the court argued that it, "is hardly lack of due process for the Government to regulate that which it subsidizes." Third, the power to regulate interstate commerce has been construed so broadly, especially in many civil rights cases, that it would hardly be surprising if the courts were to use an interstate commerce argument against a home schooling family who purchased curricular materials through the mail. The language of Darby, noted above, to the effect that Congress, "following its own conception of public policy," is free to exercise its powers as it sees fit, would seem to place virtually no limitations on what Congress may do to promote ends which it deems politically expedient.
Some private school advocates, such as those in recent Oregon efforts, have suggested amending state constitutions to protect educational subsidy recipients from federal controls attendant upon vouchers and tax credits. In light of the cases cited above, especially Darby, this strategy is unlikely to succeed. The aim of interposing a state government against federal encroachment has no successful precedent, and, on the contrary, the courts have repeatedly denied that state authority can overrule policies established by Congress.
All of the above help focus the crucial problem with voucher and tax credit proposals: to accept government aid is to surrender sovereignty to the State. This is true not only on the theological level, but it also carries certain practical implications. When we pay our own way, we may call our own shots -- to a point. We recognize that we are under the controlling Word of God Almighty. Moreover, the principle of debtor being servant to lender applies in this discussion as well. When we accept things from the hand of God (including our wages as the fruit of our labor), we acknowledge Him as the giver of every good gift. The payment of tithes on our increase confirms this. But if we accept that which the State claims, like the King of Sodom's offer to Abraham, then it can also claim that it made us rich. We have acquiesced to its illegitimate claims.
Shaw later openly stated his goals for seeking to subsidize sectarian schools. Writing in 1928, he declared, "In the case of young children, we have gone far in our interference with the old Roman rights of parents. For nine mortal years the child is taken out of its parents hands for most of the day, and thus made a State school's child instead of a private family child." Shaw goes on to elaborate on the idea that it is necessary "to protect children against their parents." Specifically,
The State has to protect the souls of children as well as their bodies; and modern psychology confirms common experience in teaching that to horrify a young child with stories of brimstone hells, and make it believe that it is a little devil who can only escape from that hell by maintaining a sinless virtue to which no saint or heroine has ever pretended, is to injure it for life more cruelly than by any act of bodily violence that even the most brutal taskmaster would dare to prescribe or justify. To put it quite frankly and flatly, the Socialist State, as far as I can guess, will teach the child the multiplication table, but will not only not teach it the Church Catechism, but if the State teachers find that the child's parents have been teaching it the Catechism otherwise than as a curious historical document, the parents will be warned that if they persist the child will be taken out of their hands and handed over to the Lord Chancellor, exactly as the children of Shelley were when their maternal grandfather denounced his son-in-law as an atheist.Again, the method of arriving at this desired result is most instructive.
There are doctrinaire Socialists who will be shocked at the suggestion that a Socialist Government should not only tolerate private enterprise, but actually finance it. But the business of Socialist rulers is not to suppress private enterprise as such, but to attain and maintain equality of income. The substitution of public for private enterprise is only one of several means to that end; and if in any particular instance the end can be best served for the moment by private enterprise, a Socialist Government will tolerate private enterprise, or subsidize private enterprise, or even initiate private enterprise.Shaw clearly taught that it was entirely appropriate for government to support that which, ultimately, it sought to destroy. But he also knew the importance of strings attached to such aid. The "capitalists...are now persuading our Conservative governments into financing them at taxpayers' expense" but without the government receiving clear evidence of equity. So, Shaw argued, "For every [[sterling]]100 granted to private enterprise, the government should demand a share certificate. Otherwise, if and when it subsequently nationalizes the enterprise, it will be asked to compensate the proprietors for the confiscation of its own capital." Shaw did not argue that the state lost its right to confiscate by failure to obtain title, only that it was creating additional difficulties which were avoidable with better planning. The idea that strings should not accompany subsidies was unthinkable: "To make private adventurers an unconditional present of public money is to loot the Treasury and plunder the taxpayer."  As Richard Mitchell put it in the February 1981 issue of the Underground Grammarian, "It is simply naive to imagine that our government, or any government anywhere, will construe tax credits or vouchers as a way of letting its citizens keep, and spend as they please, some of their own money."
Regardless which variety of statism currently prevails, it is crucial for the government in question to control the attitudes of its subjects. The future of the State is secured by young people growing up with "politically correct" thinking. What better way to insure this than to control the schools? Nevertheless, the religious question inevitably arises, as Shaw clearly saw:
But when schooling is made a national industry, and the Government sets up schools all over the country, and imposes daily attendance on the huge majority of children...a conflict arises over the souls of the children. What religion is to be taught in the State school?....[T]he Government, when it is once committed to general compulsory education, either directly in its own schools or by subsidies to other schools, finds itself driven to devise some sort of neutral religion that will suit everybody, or else forbid all mention of the subject in school. 
The latter of course, "is not really a possible plan, because children must be taught conduct as well as arithmetic, and the ultimate sanctions of conduct are metaphysical." No one, in other words, learns or lives without religion. There simply is no religiously neutral education any more than there is morally neutral living. Houston Rabbi Robert I. Kahn has correctly argued that the "purpose of the parochial school is a total education in which every classroom is permeated with religious spirit. Why else have them? Ideally speaking, in a parochial school there are no truly secular teachers nor secular subjects." The suggestion that Kahn's observation is true only in parochial and other church-related schools is, of course, a myth. The only true difference is that the religious faith of the state school is relatively covert.
The dichotomy usually presented, then, between public schools and religious private schools is false. The real issue, as the Fabians knew, was whether the doctrines of Christianity would prevail in the schools (any schools). They actively endeavored to promote an anti-Christian agenda in public and private schools, and one of the means to this end was to get private schools to receive government subsidies. The results have been disastrous and pervasive.
But regardless of the ideological combatants, the principles that come to play when private schools receive some form of government subsidy have historically worked against the interests of private religious education. Hence, if either the home school community or traditional religious schools invite the government to fund the education of their children through vouchers or tax-credits, they should expect that the result here would follow the tragedy of the English model. In fact, we already have evidence of this negative trend in the history of Catholic schools in the United States.
As early as 1806, Catholic schools, along with other denominational schools, in New York city received a portion of state funds. New York state, however, was also funding nonsectarian common schools. By 1824, the Public School Society finally succeeded in excluding denominational schools from government funding. While troublesome, this was not particularly alarming to Catholics, since all denominational schools were similarly treated. For fourteen years, therefore, Catholic schools continued to provide sectarian teaching on private funds. Meanwhile, the nonsectarian schools, under the direction of the Public School Society, grew stronger by feeding on public funds.
During this time, the number of Catholic immigrants, particularly from Ireland, grew, though Catholics remained a minority in a predominantly Protestant country. Many American bishops and priests became disturbed that an increasing number of this growing Catholic population was attending common schools. While professedly "secular," these common schools were predominantly Protestant as measured by the personal faith of the teachers and the content of the textbooks.  The Catholic clergy correctly viewed this situation as a threat to the children's Catholic heritage. To counter this, the Catholic church required Catholic parents to send their children to Catholic schools, unless they could secure a dispensation from their bishop. The church incorporated into Canon law the requirement that, "Catholic children shall not attend non-Catholic, indifferent, schools that are mixed, that is to say, schools open to Catholic and non-Catholic alike. The bishop of the diocese only has the right...to decide under what circumstances, and with what safeguards to prevent loss of faith, it may be tolerated that Catholic children go to such schools."
This was the situation when, in January of 1840, Governor Seward of New York moved to restore public funding of denominational schools. The Catholics, under Bishop Hughes, petitioned to be included. In April of that year, the petition was denied. Over the next several months, Bishop Hughes campaigned to secure public funds for his schools. These efforts finally culminated in a second petition which contained a remarkable compromise. In exchange for public funds, Hughes was willing to separate the religious teachings of the Catholic schools from the secular, to "confine the teaching of religion to after-school hours," and even "to turn the `material organization' of Catholic schools over to the control of the board of aldermen or of the Public School Society." Bishop Hughes clearly understood what history has confirmed repeatedly in the century and a half since his time: Any commingling of religious schools and government funds ultimately requires that the interests of the religious school be compromised by the separation of its religious premises from academic instruction. As noted earlier, such a separation between "religious" and "secular" is in fact a substitution of faiths. For Hughes' schools, Catholic faith was substituted for some type of Protestant faith; today, we exchange Christian for non-Christian faiths.
Recent trends in the Catholic school community are no better. In the wake of changes in the Catholic church brought about by Vatican II and the ascendancy of Pope John XXIII, "a process of secularization began to set in and progressed with increasing intensity."  Catholic schools have been increasingly willing to submit to government controls that follow government funds. In fact, Pfeffer appears to understate the situation by noting that, "many schools chose to receive public funds even at the cost of some secularization." Indeed, secularization is the inevitable result of "receiving public funds."
Finally, some may argue that the government may well usurp parental authority regardless of their acceptance or rejection of educational subsidies. This is true; it might. But in response to this appeal, let me suggest an analogy. If a marauding band of outlaws breaks down a householder's door, beats the householder and his sons senseless, abuses his wife and daughter, and plunders his goods, what do we say? We would condemn such action as an horrible felony and cry out for vindication against the perpetrators. And well we should, for a great evil would have been committed. But what shall we say of the householder in such a situation who invites the brigands in? Is not his crime greater still who, being obligated to protect his family, instead throws open the doors to the attackers? We justly recoil from the parallel, but is this not what is being proposed? The fact that the "crimes" in question are not the physically violent deeds of the brigands in the analogy is irrelevant. The tender minds and precious spirits of our children are at stake, and we dare not subject them voluntarily to the destructive forces of contemporary statist pillage. We risk the wrath of Almighty God if we do.
There is a better way -- the way of obedience. We must come to terms with the fact that the troubles we currently face are the result of national and ecclesiastical sin. God is calling His people back to obedience, and we will only find restoration through obedience. To surrender sovereignty to the god-state would be to run, like Jonah, in the opposite direction. Instead, what we must do is to continue to carry a double burden. This means we must continue to pay for the maintenance of the "public" school system, while fully financing our own children's private education. Only in this way can we retain the independence that allows us to provide quality education harmonious with our own beliefs. It is neither easy nor just, but in the short run there is simply no other way.
 Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England in Four Books (Philadelphia: Rees Welsh & Co., 1989), Vol. I. p. 419.
 Ibid, p. 242.
 D. Young, "Constitutional Validity of State Aid to Pupils in Church-Related Schools", Ohio State Law Journal, 38: 783 (1977).
Lieberman, Privatization, p. 195.
 655 F. Supp. 939 (S.D. ala. 1987).
 J. Phelps, "Editorial", The Seventh Trumpet, Vol. II, No. 2, Mar/Apr 1987.
 413 US 756 (19073).
 Ibid. See also, Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 US 602 (1971), Sloan v. Lemon, 413 US 825 (1973), and especially Wolman v. Walter, 433 US 229 (1977).
 Grove City College v. Bell, 465 US 555 (1984). Grove City College, a Presbyterian college in Pennsylvania, did not, as a matter of policy, accept federal funds. The government contended, however, that grants and scholarships given to its students made the college a recipient of federal funds. This was affirmed by the high court. The acceptance of the "subsidies" by Grove City College did not, it is true, result in the government's denial of that college's right to hold or teach religious doctrines because the college was not "pervasively sectarian", but it did bring the college under federal guidelines in areas that could potentially conflict with its religous faith.
 Roemer v. Board of Public Works, 426 US 736 (1976). See the argument in Aguilar, 473 US at 411.
 473 US 373 (1985).
 473 US 402 (1985).
 at 414, (emphasis added).
 at 417.
 See, for example, Everson v. Board of Educationof Ewing TP., 330 US 1 (1947), especially the dissenting opinions written by Justices Jackson and Rutledge. See also, Committee for Public Education v. Regan, 444 US 646 (1980) and Meek v. Pittenger, 421 US 349 (1975).
 See, for example, United States v. Jefferson County Board of Education, 372 F 2d 836; Grove City College v. Bell, supra.,
 9 Wheat. 196 (1824).
 299 YS 334 (1937).
 Hammer v. Dagenhard, 247 US 251 (1917).
 312 US 100 (1941).
 317 US 111 (1042).
 330 US 1 (1947).
 See, for example, Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 US 294 (1964); Hearth of Atlanta Motel, Inc., v. United States, 379 US 241 (1964).
 See especially Kentucky Whip and Collar supra, and Cooper v. Aaron, 358 US 1, (1958). The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA) is a case in point. The US Congress mandated action in Alaska that was held to be contrary to the Alaska State Constitution by the Alaska State Supreme Court. The situation is yet unresolved, but the Federal Government has taken over wildlife managment on all Federal lands in Alaska (60% of the state) and will manage it contrary to the Alaska State Constitution (at an additional cost to the taxpayers of $17 million per annum).
 Genesis 14:21-23 -- "And the king of Sodom said to Abram, 'Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself.' And Abraham said to the king of Sodom, 'I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or sandal thong or anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich.'"
 Margaret Cole, The Story of Fabian Socialism, (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1961), p. 105.
 St. John Ervine, Bernard Shaw: His Life, Work, and Friends (New York: Wm. Morrow, 1956), p. 370.
 George Bernard Shaw, The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, and Fascism, (New York: Random House, 1938), p. 412.
 Ibid., p. 424.
 Ibid., pp. 388, 389.
 Ibid., p. 389.
 Ibid., pp. 360, 361.
 Ibid., p. 362.
 Cited in Helen Parmley, "War Rages Over Church School Aid", The Dallas Morning News, March 27, 1972.
 J.A. Burns, The Principles, Origin, and Establishment of the Catholic School System in the United States (New York: Benziger Bros., 1912), p. 179.
 Ibid., p. 194.
 Ibid., In fact, the first president of the university was a Presbyterian minister.
 Everson v. Board of Education, 330 US at 23.
 Burns, Principles, p. 361.
 Leo Pfeffer, God, Caesar, and the Constitution, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1975), p. 228.
 Burns, Principles, Ibid.
 Pfeffer, Caesar, p. 229
 Canon 1374, cited by Jackson in Everson.
 Burns, Principles, p. 363.
 Ibid., p. 366.
 Pfeffer, Caesar, p. 237.
 See, for example, the 1969 Salary Supplement Act in Rhode Island which was at issue in Earley v. DiCenso, 316 F. Supp. 112 and Pennsylvania's Nonpublic Elementary and Secondary Act of 1969 which was at issue in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 US 602. In both cases, Catholic school teachers were willing to accept conditions amounting to secularization in exchange for state funds. The courts eventually struck down both statutes on the grounds of excessive entanglement.
 Pfeffer, Caesar, Ibid.
 Jack Phelps, "The State as God", The Seventh Trumpet, Vol. V, No. 2, Mar/Apr 1990.