Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Steve is quite right, in his recent home-schooling post, to make it clear that, in rejecting the sweeping, statist proposals of those who would outlaw home-schooling, we who believe in ordered-liberty-in-education do not and need not assert absolute immunity from reasonable regulation. He is also right, I think -- in his recent post regarding Dean Garvey's op-ed -- a broad claim that "it always unjustifiably burdens taxpayers' consciences to require them to pay taxes into a general fund out of which some activities to which those taxpayers are opposed are funded."
Now, unlike Steve perhaps, I think the "Madisonian claim" is unsustainable with respect to religion. That is, it does not (necessarily) violate religious liberty, in my view, for the public authority to "support" religion or its exercise with public funds. (To say this is to say nothing about whether and when such support is wise.)
In my view, the point of the Hyde Amendment is not so much to protect taxpayers' consciences (though I would think that the Amendment does make many of us feel better about paying our taxes). The point is to (a) avoid increasing the number of abortions through subsidization, and (b) to "teach", or "bear witness to the fact", that abortion is an act that it is reasonable to oppose as immoral and unworthy of the political community's financial support.