While I approve of William Robertsons attempt to add to the debate on school vouchers (Vouchers combine church and state, SN 9/21), I find his letter to be shortsighted and to misconstrue the issue.
If it were possible to separate church and state as he implies, this separation would privilege atheism, which is, in its own way, just as much of a belief system.
The above cliché that is thrown about with so much rhetorical glee obfuscates the Constitutions true intent as I see it. The Constitutions framers did not want any one particular religion or denomination to be privileged in our society; they had no intention at all of divorcing belief from the public sphere. If this were so, a devout man like Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman could never have been brought forward as a candidate - a turn of events that I hope the religious of all persuasions strongly approve. Since, school vouchers would be available to schools of all faiths - Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Atheism - the government will not be privileging one denomination over another.
In fact, one can easily make the argument that the divorce of religion from public schools does just that: It implicitly promotes a scientific, rationalist and atheistic notion of the universe and oppresses viewpoints that oppose such a view.
Schools inevitably push an ideological agenda that filters down through textbooks and teachers. I agree that some of this indoctrination serves a valid social purpose, that is, assimilation, but in this instance, I do not think the majority community is being served.
The above is enough, I hope, to at least consider voting yes on Proposal 1.
English graduate student