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Letter to Texas Senator Paul Bettencourt

27. April 2015
Dear Senator,
I am joining my colleague at South Main Baptist Church, Houston, Texas, and many others across this great state, to express my profound disappointment and disapproval of your support for SB 4 providing vouchers to private schools.  I have previously made plain that I oppose the bill, and I would appreciate a reply to hear your moral and legal rationale for voting for this bill. I will be speaking to my 5,000 congregants on this subject and will let them know how you voted.  I want to be able to accurately represent your rationale.
 
Having said that, I want to put my cards plainly on the table, even as I ask you to do the same:
 
First, SB4 diverts public money to religious schools, which violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution which expressly prohibits the establishment of religion.
 
Second, SB4 allows a reduction in the public treasury of funds that will be diverted to private schools.
 
Third, SB4 channels those public monies to private schools with no accountability or oversight about how those monies will be spent, giving them permission to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, and special needs.
 
Fourth, SB4 creates a second parallel private system of education, while the Senate continues to neglect the lawful, public system.
 
Fifth,  SB4 violates the Texas Constitution, Article 7, Section 1 which says, “A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.”
 
Sixth, I understand this bill to undermine the civil rights of our citizens. 
  
In my estimation as a pastor, the very representatives of the people of Texas sworn by Bible oath before God to uphold the Constitution of the State of Texas voted overwhelmingly to abdicate that oath by doing what no legislature in Texas has ever before done:  provide private school vouchers with public school money.  They did so while the State of Texas is once again unlawfully underfunding our neighborhood and community schools.  Our State benefits from the good fortune of a robust Texas economy while we hover near the bottom of our nation in per pupil spending.  In short, we continue to feast at the table of bounty while our children subsist on crumbs falling from that table. According to Luke 16 this not will bode well for you, or us as a society. 
 
Please do me the courtesy of calling me on my cell phone at 281-433-1412 so I may properly represent your position.  If I don’t hear from you, I’ll let my members know your office has been too busy to respond to our concerns for our school district we work so hard to maintain. 
 
grace and peace,
Godfrey Hubert, D.D., D.Min.
Pastor
Foundry Church, Houston, Texas