Do No Harm

Written by Ray Moore, Th.M., Chaplain (Lt. Col.) USAR Ret, Chairman of CEI and director of Exodus Mandate

“Do no harm” is the first principle physicians follow in the treatment of their patients. My late father-in-law once was prescribed some blood pressure medicine that brought on a diabetic condition. Physicians are aware that it is possible that some cures they propose can actually cause other health problems to develop, and this must be avoided.  

This warning, “Do no harm” is especially warranted for any government program. Frequently, those in favor of school choice take no thought of this possibility. So, it is with the support of vouchers for private and religious schools. The current “school choice model” is flawed.  

Most believe that vouchers will enable more people to avail themselves of private or religious schools, and this would increase competition. Monopolies breed mediocrity. Public schooling, the greatest monopoly, should be broken up. This is well-reasoned up to this point, and it would temporarily create the appearance that education was improving as more families choose private or religious schools.  

The danger to religious and private schools, however, would be real. First, a voucher system would increase dependency upon government assistance by starting another entitlement program. These vouchers amount to welfare or “school stamps” and would create a dependent class.  

Many families have been providing a private education for their children at great sacrifice. Some families would weaken in the face of this easy new money and would find themselves in the “school stamp” line in spite of the better judgment. Also, the religious institutions that accepted these new “school stamps” would find their theology and policies in jeopardy as onerous regulations by the government threaten their freedom.  

The pro-voucher plan may actually restrict religious schools from promulgating their own faith if they accept the voucher money.  

Christian and conservative groups, now applauding this movement to their constituencies, have an ethical obligation to inform them of this serious flaw.  

The voucher idea is not new at all, having been tried since World War II in England and Western Europe. In all cases, while it has taken a decade or two, the private and religious schools lost their religious distinctions. Government money erodes the theological and spiritual essence of religious institutions so that their “Gospel light” is put out. Several research studies, one done during the Reagan administration, studying the effect of vouchers upon religious and private institutions, confirm this analysis. In a Freedom Project Media article written by Alex Newman Nov. 15, 2018, he reported that “authorities in Canada’s Alberta province gave Christian schools a choice: Quit being Christian and teaching the truth of God’s Word or be suspended and potentially even shut down. And because the Canadian schools all take government funding at this point, odds are good that the totalitarian gender ideologues running the education bureaucracy will get their wish, absent a massive public outcry.” This is exactly where “public education” is heading in America, too.  

 The best plan is for churches to provide scholarships and make their facilities available for Christian schools. Family members can provide scholarships. The business community can provide scholarship funding for needy families to attend private or religious schools. More families can homeschool. These strategies will not create dependency and threaten the freedom of private educational institutions.  

The Church needs to follow the practice, “Do no harm,” and not be taken in by government programs.  

We should give up cosmetic approaches like the voucher to create educational choice. Vouchers should be off the agenda. State control will follow the money and possibly jeopardize the ability for private and religious schools to teach biblical truth. At the very least vouchers should “do no harm.”  

Ray Moore, Th.M., Chaplain (Lt. Col.) USAR Ret, Chairman of CEI and director of Exodus Mandate, encourages the Christian community in choosing Christian schools or homeschooling. Visit his webpages at or
This article was originally published in The State Paper, Columbia, SC in 1998. This is the revised article reprinted August 2022.