The goal of my study is to analyze the results of surveys to see whether the moral side of the child benefit arguments should be acknowledged. I would like to propose a longitudinal study where surveys are used to observe what type of relationship if any exists between the type of school the student attends, and that student’s moral view. Gathering data on this relationship is important to know when state Supreme Courts have based policy using ‘Child Benefit Theory’ arguments.
Whether or not there is in fact a sort of positive moral outcome from attending a particular type of school would be mean there is a difference in moral understanding different between the two types of institutions forcing relevance to the policy making. Alternatively, it may be the case that there is not an observable difference between an individual’s idea of morality and their school’s type. If the data drawn from surveyed students differ in terms of what is right to do inside of hypothetical situation, then moral aspects of child benefit theories would then be relevant to child benefit based establishment tests.
The Establishment Clause states that policy cannot support an established religion. To some interpreters like Derek Davis and Douglas Laycock the purpose for a Wall of Separation is not to hinder child benefits or be a nation free from religion, but was only to forbid a national or state religion. Other interpreters such as George Kurland and Robert Peterson support more neutrality when allocating funds, without child benefits taking precedence. Due to the implicit nature of the constitution and vague language these competing interpretation cause reasonable disagreements amongst courts.
In order to solve these issues of justifying allocating public funds for the sake of student educational needs the Supreme Court has incorporated a variety of ‘Establishment tests’ (Veen 2000). Establishment tests are the assessment methods to determine whether funds are unconstitutional under the first amendment’s establishment clause. However, if tests cannot be reliable confusion arises as to why certain decisions favor different criteria thus causing confusion for the courts and institutions as well.
Part of the confusion is due to the uncertainty of how strictly we are to interpret the Establishment Clause. The Establishment Clause’s purpose according to Thomas Jefferson is to create a wall of separation between church and state. But the language is somewhat vague. Lisa Thurau-Gray also points out how most recent decisions have provided support for less rigid interpretations of the Establishment Clause. However, these same decisions can in effect pose an unfair advantage in certain contexts. (Gray 1998).
Some thinkers like Veit-Michael Bader a professor of sociology, and of social and political philosophy at the University of Amsterdam support an establishment test which is more open to educational advantages despite indirect religious support. The indirect support is...