Pp. Ball, 473 U. S., at 376–377. And, because actual diversion is permissible under the plurality’s holding, the participating religious organizations (including churches) could use that aid to support religious indoctrination. Justice Souter also relies on our decisions in Wolman (to the extent it concerned field-trip transportation for nonpublic schools), Levitt v. Committee for Public Ed. See, e.g., Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U. S. 668, 692 (1984) (O’Connor, J., concurring). Because the government financed the entirety of such classes, any religious indoctrination taking place therein would be directly attributable to the government. I believe that Agostini likewise controls the constitutional inquiry respecting Title II presented here, and requires the reversal of the Court of Appeals’ judgment that the program is unconstitutional as applied in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Thomas, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and Scalia and Kennedy, JJ., joined. 521 U. S., at 233–234. A concern for divertibility, as opposed to improper content, is also misplaced because it is boundless–enveloping all aid, no matter how trivial–and thus has only the most attenuated (if any) link to any realistic concern for preventing an establishment of religion. 1   Chapter 2 is now technically Subchapter VI of Chapter 70 of 20 U. S. C., where it was codified by the Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994, Pub. 10   I agree with the plurality that the Establishment Clause absolutely prohibits the government from providing aid with clear religious content to religious, or for that matter nonreligious, schools. 2. Although “neutral” may have carried a hint of inaction when we indicated that the First Amendment “does not require the state to be [the] adversary” of religious believers, ibid., or to cut off general government services from religious organizations, Everson provided no explicit definition of the term or further indication of what the government was required to do or not do to be a “neutral” toward religion. Although there is evidence that equipment has been, or at least easily could be, diverted for use in relgious classes, that evidence is not relevant to the constitutional analysis. A statewide review by the Louisiana SEA indicated that §7371(b) receives nearly universal compliance. (c)  Two rules offered by respondents to govern the determination whether Chapter 2 has the effect of advancing religion are rejected. Respondents note that in Agostini we did not overrule that portion of Ball holding the Community Education program unconstitutional. for Cert. The monitoring visits consist of reviewing records of equipment use and of speaking to a single contact person. But the provisions for onsite monitoring visits, labeling of government property, and government oversight cannot be accepted as sufficient in the face of record evidence that the safeguard provisions proved to be empty phrases in Jefferson Parish. In Agostini, after reexamining our jurisprudence since School Dist. Levitt, 413 U. S., at 480. There may be no aid supporting a sectarian school’s religious exercise or the discharge of its religious mission, while aid of a secular character with no discernible benefit to such a sectarian objective is allowable. See post, at 27, 28–29 (opinion concurring in judgment). Ante, at 34–36; see also App. The materials-and-equipment program in Wolman was essentially identical, except that the State, in an effort to comply with Meek, see Wolman, 433 U. S., at 233, 250, loaned the aid to the students. The irrationality of this distinction is patent. See, e.g., Agostini, supra, at 224–226. Respondents also offer no evidence that religious schools have received software from the government that has an impermissible content. Nor did the Court address a First Amendment challenge to a state program providing textbooks to children in Cochran v. Louisiana Bd. Opinion for Mitchell v. Helms, 530 U.S. 793, 120 S. Ct. 2530, 147 L. Ed. Mitchell v. Helms (605 words) exact match in snippet view article find links to article (1961) NAACP v. Button (1963) Edwards v. South Carolina (1963) United Mine Workers v. Pennington (1965) Cox v. Louisiana (1965) California Motor Transport. See Meek, supra, at 362–366; Wolman, supra, at 248–251. Rosenberger, 515 U. S., at 842. An indirect form of payment reduces these risks. And, depending on the breadth of distribution, looking to evenhandedness is a way of asking whether a benefit can reasonably be seen to aid religion in fact; we do not regard the postal system as aiding religion, even though parochial schools get mail. The Court as early as Wolman itself left no doubt that Meek and Allen were irreconcilable, see 433 U. S., at 251, n. 18, and we have repeatedly reaffirmed Allen since then, see, e.g., Agostini, supra, at 231. Cf. Id., at 36–37. As part of this process, a JPPSS employee examines the titles of requested library books and rejects any book whose title reveals (or suggests) a religious subject matter. Respondents contend that Agostini is distinguishable, pointing to the distinct character of the aid program considered there. 70 Id. The government did not even have a policy on the consequences of noncompliance. 27, 1990); App. Thus, government benefits accruing to these pervasively religious primary and secondary schools raise special dangers of diversion into support for the religious indoctrination of children and the involvement of government in religious training and practice. This is obvious. Thus, the basic principle of establishment scrutiny of aid remains the principle as stated in Everson, that there may be no public aid to religion or support for the religious mission of any institution. The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause prohibits Congress (and, by incorporation, the States) from making any law respecting an establishment of religion. Ibid. First, respondents cite no precedent of this Court that would require it. Compare Wolman, supra, at 254; Levitt, supra, at 480, with supra, at 16; infra, at 23. Second, the religious nature of a recipient should not matter to the constitutional analysis, so long as the recipient adequately furthers the government’s secular purpose. of Grand Rapids v. Ball, 473 U.S. 373, 399—400 (O’Connor, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part), distinguished. I disagree. See, e.g., Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah, 508 U. S. 520, 532 (1993) (“At a minimum, the protections of the Free Exercise Clause pertain if the law at issue discriminates against some or all religious beliefs”); Everson, 330 U. S., at 16; cf. It therefore does not have the effect of advancing religion. Ante, at 21–22. With respect to lending to private schools under Chapter 2, the statute specifically provides that the relevant public agency must retain title to the materials and equipment. I therefore concur in the judgment. As I shall explain below, I believe the evidence on all three points is equally insignificant and, therefore, should be treated the same. The discovery prompted the State to notify the JPPSS, which then reexamined book requests dating back to 1982, discovered the 191 books in question, and recalled them. Ibid, at 863. No. Canon 803, §2, Text & Commentary 568 (“It is necessary that the formation and education given in a Catholic school be based upon the principles of Catholic doctrine; teachers are to be outstanding for their correct doctrine and integrity of life”), and that individual religious teachers will teach religiously.7Lemon, 403 U. S., at 615–620; id., at 635–641 (Douglas, J., concurring); Levitt, 413 U. S., at 480; Meek, 421 U. S., at 369–371; Wolman, 433 U. S., at 249–250 (discussing nonseverability of religious and secular education); Ball, 473 U. S., at 399–400 (O’Connor, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part), overruled in part by Agostini, 521 U. S., at 236. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment dictates that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” In the over 50 years since Everson, we have consistently struggled to apply these simple words in the context of governmental aid to religious schools.4 As we admitted in Tilton v. Richardson, 403 U. S. 672 (1971), “candor compels the acknowledgment that we can only dimly perceive the boundaries of permissible government activity in this sensitive area.” Id., at 678 (plurality opinion); see id., at 671 (White, J., concurring in judgment). Two years later, Chief Judge Heebe having retired, Judge Livaudais received the case. See 521 U. S., at 220–221 (Shared Time program at issue in Ball was “surely invalid … [g]iven the holdings in Meek and Wolman” regarding instructional materials and equipment). Justice Souter also states that the divertibility of secular government aid is an important consideration under the Establishment Clause, although he apparently would not ascribe it the constitutionally determinative status that respondents do. AMICUS CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF … The safeguards on which she relies reduce to three: (1) signed assurances that Chapter 2 aid will be used only for secular, neutral, and nonideological purposes, (2) monitoring visits, and (3) the requirement that equipment be labeled as belonging to Chapter 2.14 As to the first, Justice O’Connor rightly places little reliance on it. Respondents’ only other evidence consists of a chart concerning one Jefferson Parish religious school, which shows that the school’s theology department was a significant user of audiovisual equipment. No. of Central School Dist. See ante, at 17, 19. Taking the second criterion first, it is clear that Chapter 2 aid “is allocated on the basis of neutral, secular criteria that neither favor nor disfavor religion, and is made available to both religious and secular beneficiaries on a nondiscriminatory basis.” Agostini, supra, at 231. 521 U. S., at 222. Nor does Chapter 2 define its recipients by reference to religion. §7351. Purpose is to comply with the State’s EC. The purpose of the direct/indirect distinction is to present “subsidization” of religion, and the Court’s more recent cases address this concern through the principle of private choice, as incorporated in the first Agostini criterion (i.e., whether any indoctrination could be attributed to the government). Evenhandedness of distribution as between religious and secular beneficiaries is a relevant factor, but not a sufficiency test of constitutionality. Media for Mitchell v. Helms. In its logic— as well as its specific advisory language, see ante, at 20, n. 8—the plurality opinion foreshadows the approval of direct monetary subsidies to religious organizations, even when they use the money to advance their religious objectives. Pp. Respondents’ contentions that Agostini should be limited to its facts, and that a presumption of religious inculcation for instructional materials and equipment should be retained, must be rejected. No tax in any amount … can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions … whatever form they may adopt to teach … religion.” 330 U. S., at 16. This characteristic of both programs made them less like a direct subsidy, which would be impermissible under the Establishment Clause, and more akin to the government issuing a paycheck to an employee who, in turn, donates a portion of that check to a religious institution. Although old equipment remained the property of the local education agency, a local government administrative body, one agency employee testified that there was no set policy for dealing with old computers, which were probably given outright to the religious schools. “[E]xperience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation.” Ibid. In our own history, the turmoil thus produced has led to a rejection of the idea that government should subsidize religious education, id., at 645–649 (opinion of Brennan, J.) Second, they argue that provision to religious schools of aid that is divertible to religious use is similarly impermissible.7 Respondents’ arguments are inconsistent with our more recent case law, in particular Agostini and Zobrest, and we therefore reject them. Accordingly, while the Court was willing to apply an irrebuttable presumption that secular instructional materials and equipment would be diverted to use for religious indoctrination, it required evidence that religious schools were diverting secular textbooks to religious instruction. Under Title I, Congress provided monetary grants to States to address the needs of educationally deprived children of low-income families. The majority misapplies it. First, compelling an individual to support religion violates the fundamental principle of freedom of conscience. Pp. §§7312(a)–(b). Immediately, however, there was the difficulty over what might amount to “aid” or “support.” The problem for the Everson Court was not merely the imprecision of the words, but the “other language of the [First Amendment that] commands that [government] cannot hamper its citizens in the free exercise of their own religion,” ibid., with the consequence that government must “be a neutral in its relations with groups of religious believers and non-believers,” id., at 18. The Court should not treat a per-capita-aid program like Chapter 2 the same as the true private choice programs approved in Witters v. Washington Dept. Pp. First, the plurality’s treatment of neutrality comes close to assigning that factor singular importance in the future adjudication of Establishment Clause challenges to government school-aid programs. ); Wolman, supra, at 237–238. Government aid to religion is forbidden, and tax revenue may not be used to support a religious school or religious teaching. See post, at 12–17. See, e.g., 487 U. S., at 621. 5   Indeed, two of the dissenters in Allen agreed with the majority on this method of analysis, asking whether the books at issue were similar enough to fire and police protection. The plurality nonetheless condemns any enquiry into the pervasiveness of doctrinal content as a remnant of anti-Catholic bigotry (as if evangelical Protestant schools and Orthodox Jewish yeshivas were never pervasively sectarian29), and it equates a refusal to aid religious schools with hostility to religion (as if aid to religious teaching were not opposed in this very case by at least one religious respondent30 and numerous religious amici curiae31in a tradition claiming descent from Roger Williams). The dissenters countered with factual analyses showing the limitation of the law’s benefits in fact to private school pupils who were Roman Catholics, id., at 20 (Jackson, J., dissenting), and indicating the inseparability of transporting pupils to school from support for the religious instruction that was the school’s raison d’ê ;tre, id., at 45–46 (Rutledge, J., dissenting). See post, at 8–9, 20 (Souter, J., dissenting) (noting this fact regarding Everson); Allen, 392 U. S., at 251–252 (Black, J., dissenting); id., at 262–264, 269–270, n. (Douglas, J., dissenting). Helms, 530 U.S. 793 (2000), is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court ruled that it was permissible for loans to be made to religious schools under Chapter 2 of the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981. Rosenberger, 515 U. S. 819 (holding that Free Speech Clause bars exclusion of religious viewpoints from limited public forum). Justice Souter is correct to note our continued recognition of the special dangers associated with direct money grants to religious institutions. Those decisions adhered to the prior holding in Board of Ed. Nor, to the extent that the supplement/supplant line is separable from respondents’ direct/indirect and “no divertibility” arguments, do we need to resolve the distinction’s constitutional status today, for, as we have already noted, Chapter 2 itself requires that aid may only be supplemental. Finally, the distinction between a per-capita-aid program and a true private-choice program is important when considering aid that consists of direct monetary subsidies. See supra, at 22. One of the dissent’s factors deserves special mention: whether a school that receives aid (or whose students receive aid) is pervasively sectarian. 521 U. S., at 211–212, 234.) for Cert. Tilton, 403 U. S., at 685–686. In this case, our inquiry under Agostini’s purpose and effect test is a narrow one. He relied primarily on Meek v. Pittenger, 421 U.S. 349, and Wolman v. Walter, 433 U.S. 229, in which programs providing many of the same sorts of materials and equipment as does Chapter 2 were struck down, even though programs providing for the loan of public school textbooks to religious schools were upheld. , 397 U.S. 728 (1970), is a case in which the United States Supreme Court ruled that an addressee of postal mail has sole, complete, unfettered and unreviewable discretion to decide whether he or she wishes to receive further material from a particular sender, that the sender does not have a constitutional right to send unwanted material into someone's home. Court doesn’t apply any test, but just gives several reasons. Justice Souter also relies on testimony by one religious school principal indicating that a computer lent to her school under Chapter 2 was connected through a network to non-Chapter 2 computers. The purpose of the direct/indirect distinction is to present “subsidization” of religion, and the Court’s more recent cases address this concern through the principle of private choice, as incorporated in the first Agostini criterion (i.e., whether any indoctrination could be attributed to the government). v. HELMS et al. “[I]t does not seem appropriate to view any aid ultimately flowing to the Inland Empire School of the Bible as resulting from a state action sponsoring or subsidizing religion.” 474 U. S., at 487–488 (footnote, citations, and internal quotation marks omitted).6. Our case law does provide some indication that this distinction may be relevant to determining whether aid results in governmental indoctrination, see Agostini, 521 U. S., at 228–229; Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School Dist., 509 U. S. 1, 12 (1993); but see School Dist. Indeed, Agostini expressly rejected respondents’ absolute line. First, we explained that the Court had since abandoned “the presumption erected in Meek and Ball that the placement of public employees on parochial school grounds inevitably results in the impermissible effect of state-sponsored indoctrination or constitutes a symbolic union between government and religion.” Id., at 223. The Court approved the translator as it would approve a hearing aid, health services, diagnostics, and tests. Thus, it is not problematic that Chapter 2 could fairly be described as providing “direct” aid. See id., at 154a. The Ninth Circuit purported to distinguish Meek and Wolman based on the percentage of schools receiving aid that were parochial (a large percentage in those cases and a moderate percentage in Walker), 46 F. 3d, at 1468, but that court undermined this distinction when it observed that Meek also upheld “the massive provision of textbooks to parochial schools.” 46 F. 3d, at 1468, n. 16. When asked whether there was “any way” for SEA officials to know of diversion of a Chapter 2 computer, he responded, “No, there is no way.” Id., at 118a. (a) In modifying the Lemon test–which asked whether a statute (1) has a secular purpose, (2) has a primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion, or (3) creates an excessive entanglement between government and religion, see 403 U.S., at 612—613–Agostini examined only the first and second of those factors, see 521 U.S., at 222—223, recasting the entanglement inquiry as simply one criterion relevant to determining a statute’s effect, id., at 232—233. The LEA’s purchase instructional and educational materials and then lend those materials to public and private schools. . Synopsis of Rule of Law. for Cert. Search ... MITCHELL et al. Oral Argument - December 01, 1999. Agostini’s second primary criterion for determining the effect of governmental aid is closely related to the first. Id., at 118a, 164a–166a. The plurality is candid in pointing out the extent of actual diversion of Chapter 2 aid to religious use in the case before us, ante, at 34–36, and n. 17, and equally candid in saying it does not matter, ante, at 21–27, 36. The evidence of violations of Chapter 2’s supplantation and secular-content restrictions is equally insignificant and, therefore, should be treated the same. Respondents’ assertion that materials and equipment, unlike textbooks, are reasonably divertible to religious uses is rejected because it does not provide a logical distinction: An educator can use virtually any instructional tool, even a textbook, to teach a religious message. 1987); see also Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of Univ. 19   Indeed, as petitioners observe, to require exclusion of religious schools from such a program would raise serious questions under the Free Exercise Clause. Oral Argument - December 01, 1999; Opinion Announcement - June 28, 2000; Opinions. When such an incentive does exist, there is a greater risk that one could attribute to the government any indoctrination by the religious schools. Madison’s and Jefferson’s now familiar words establish clearly that liberty of personal conviction requires freedom from coercion to support religion,1 and this means that the government can compel no aid to fund it. Diversion was guaranteed. That misapplication is, however, the only consolation in the case, which reaches an erroneous result but does not stage a doctrinal coup. See post, at 32 (O’Connor, J., concurring in judgment). We were not “willing to conclude that the constitutionality of an aid program depends on the number of sectarian school students who happen to receive the otherwise neutral aid.” Id., at 229. As already mentioned, the Court first referred to neutrality in Everson, simply stating that government is required “to be a neutral” among religions and between religion and nonreligion. 17–21. See, e.g., Tilton, 403 U. S., at 688 (characterizing buildings as “religiously neutral”); Zobrest, 509 U. S., at 10 (describing translator as “neutral service”); Agostini, 521 U. S., at 232 (discussing need to assess whether nature of aid was “neutral and nonideological”). 7—9. This stretch of doctrinal history leaves one point clear beyond peradventure: together with James Madison we have consistently understood the Establishment Clause to impose a substantive prohibition against public aid to religion and, hence, to the religious mission of sectarian schools. No. Docket no. (i) Respondents’ chief argument–that direct, nonincidental aid to religious schools is always impermissible–is inconsistent with this Court’s more recent cases. In addition, the program in Witters was neutral. The principal testified that the Chapter 2 computer would take over the network if another non-Chapter 2 computer were to break down. 4   While Everson’s dissenters parted company with the majority over the specific question of school buses, the Court stood as one behind the principle of no aid for religious teaching. Second, Chapter 2 does not result in governmental indoctrination of religion. Toggle navigation. 2d 660, 2000 U.S. LEXIS 4485 — Brought to you by Free Law Project, a non-profit dedicated to creating high quality open legal information. strance'," Cornell Law Review 87 (2002): 783. Yet that is just what this factor requires, as was evident before the District Court. Cornell Law School Search Cornell. Other record evidence supports the conclusion that these religious schoolteachers teach religiously. Helms v. Cody, Civ. I agree with Justice Souter that the plurality, by taking such a stance, “appears to take evenhandedness neutrality and in practical terms promote it to a single and sufficient test for the establishment constitutionality of school aid.” Post, at 35. “Q:  Now, is there any way, do you ever ask that question of a church-affiliated school, as to whether they use it for that purpose? For the following year, 46 participated, and the participation level has remained relatively constant since then. Washington’s program is made available generally without regard to the sectarian-nonsectarian, or public-nonpublic nature of the institution benefited and … creates no financial incentive for students to undertake sectarian education… . at 827. It does not support them”); Allen, 392 U. S., at 243–244 (“[N]o funds or books are furnished to parochial schools, and the financial benefit is to parents and children, not schools”); Walz, supra, at 675 (“Obviously a direct money subsidy would be a relationship pregnant with involvement and, as with most governmental grant programs, could encompass sustained and detailed administrative relationships for enforcement of statutory or administrative standards”); Lemon, supra, at 612 (identifying “three main evils” against which Establishment Clause was to protect as “sponsorship, financial support, and active involvement of the sovereign in religious activity,” citing Walz); 403 U. S., at 621 (distinguishing direct financial aid program from Everson and Allen and noting problems with required future surveillance); Nyquist, 413 U. S., at 762, 774 (striking down “direct money grants” for maintaining buildings because there was no attempt to restrict payments to those expenditures related exclusively to secular purposes); Levitt, 413 U. S., at 480, 482 (striking down “direct money grant” for testing expenses)12; Hunt v. McNair, 413 U. S. 734, 745, n. 7 (1973) (noting approved aid is “no expenditure of public funds, either by grant or loan”); Wolman, 433 U. S., at 239, and n. 7 (noting that “statute does not authorize any payment to nonpublic school personnel for the costs of administering the tests”); Agostini, 521 U. S., at 228–229 (emphasizing that approved services are not “distributed ‘directly to the religious schools.’ … No Title I funds ever reach the coffers of religious schools, and Title I services may not be provided to religious schools on a schoolwide basis” (citations omitted)); Bowen, 487 U. S., at 614–615; Rosenberger, 515 U. S., at 842 (noting that “we have recognized special Establishment Clause dangers where the government makes direct money payments to sectarian institutions”); cf. , 621—622, 624 schools, of which had involved such a rule of unprecedented breadth for the.... Was codified at 20 U. 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