WASHINGTON (Feb. 2)
The church-state issue in federal aid to education was raised today at hearings before the Senate Subcommittee on Education on President Johnson’s education aid bill which would enable religious schools to benefit from federal funds.
The Subcommittee chairman, Sen. Wayne Morse, Cregon Democrat, stating his position on the issue, said: “I’ll go just as far as the Supreme Court tells me I can go in the interests of the little boys and girls in this country.” Sen. Morse emphasized that the controlling factor in federal aid to education is the welfare of the child. He added that the inevitable result of federal educational aid will be a decision by the Supreme Court on how far Congress can go in the area. “The sooner we got a decision the better,” he said.
Sen. Jacob K. Javits, New York Republican, expressed his view that President Johnson’s proposals do not run afoul of existing juridical decisions on the church-state issue. Representatives of two American Jewish organizations repeated their conflicting positions on the proposed legislation as presented to the House Education Subcommittee yesterday. They differ on aid to children in non-public schools.
Testifying for the American Jewish Congress, Harrison J. Goldin, of New York, claimed that federal aid to parochial schools would have a disastrous effect on American education. The American Jewish Congress objects to sections of the bill that would provide federal funds for books, educational materials and the development of shared facilities for non-public schools.
Rabbi Morris Sherer, of the Agudath Israel of America, maintained that the issue is an educational, not a religious one. He said “we are specially gratified that this bill has not chosen to arbitrarily ignore the educational needs of the children in the religious-oriented elementary and secondary schools.”