Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 595–613 | Cite as

Should Liberal States Subsidize Religious Schooling?

  • François Boucher


Many liberals and secularists believe that religious schooling should not be publicly funded or that it should simply be banned. Challenging those views, I claim that although liberal states may refuse to fund and may even ban certain illiberal separate religious schools, it is impermissible, for distinctively liberal reasons, to completely ban publicly funded religious schooling. I will however argue that providing religious instruction within common public schools is more desirable than having separate religious schools. I argue that providing religious instruction within common public schools (for all religious options with enough adherents) is a better way to balance the educational interests of parents, children and society than (1) banning religious schooling altogether; (2) authorizing it but refusing to fund it; (3) or having publicly funded separate religious schools.


Religious schools Neutrality Children autonomy School choice Liberalism Secularism Religion 



I have presented draft versions of this paper at different workshops, seminars and conferences at University College London, Université Laval, University of Montreal, and KU Leuven. I am especially thankful to Félix Aubé Beaudoin, Aurélia Bardon, Harry Brighouse, Andrée-Anne Cormier, Helder De Schutter, Marc-Antoine Dilhac, Valéry Giroux, Sarah Hannan, Eszter Kollar, Will Kymlicka, Cécile Laborde, Jocelyn Maclure, Félix Mathieu, Gina Schouten, Antoon Vandevelde, Daniel Weinstock, and Danielle Zwarthoed for valuable critical feedback and discussion. Any flaw in my argument is my entire responsibility and not theirs.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Philosophy, KU LeuvenLouvainBelgium

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