Amendment 8 Would Legalize Florida Taxpayer Funding of Churches

August 21, 2012
By Guest Reporter Lore

On November 6th, Floridians will face much more than the decision of whom to elect for President of the United States for the next four years. The ballot will also include several Amendments touching on key issues ranging from healthcare to abortion to distribution of tax dollars.

The Broward County Teacher’s Union held a rally on August 8th to protest the proposed Amendment 8 which would take public tax dollars and give them to private religious institutions.

After signing in, passing out buttons and posters, and waving signs along busy Commercial Boulevard, the crowd was then addressed by several speakers including: Dan Gelber, currently running for Attorney General of Florida; Robin Bartleman, School Board at Large Seat 9; Joanne McCall, Vice President of the Florida Education Association; Dr. Rosalin Osgood, School Board Member District 5; Franklin Sands, who lost Seat 8 for the School Board and Nick Steffens who lost for School Board Member District 4.

The Broward Teacher’s Union, and other opponents of the Amendment, state that this would take much needed funds away from already strapped-for-cash public schools and that private religious schools, which already charge for admission to their institutions, do not need the extra funds. They argue that this also violates the separation of church and state, which is clearly defined in Article One, Section Three of Florida’s State Constitution and that it is about taxpayer funding of religion, and requires no oversight or accountability.

Supporters of the Amendment, among them the Diocese of Palm Beach, state on a “Yes on Amendment 8” Fact Sheet that Amendment 8 “eliminates discrimination against churches and religious institutions who provide social services” and would protect them from legal actions against organizations that “deliver food and financial aid, support, and training to those most in need”. They argue that this is about protecting religious non-profits that provide secular services.

On the ballot the language of the Amendment, titled “Religious Freedom”, reads:

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution providing that no individual or entity may be denied, on the basis of religious identity or belief, governmental benefits, funding, or other support, except as required by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, and deleting the prohibition against using revenues from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.

The full text of the proposed Amendment can be read by clicking here.

3 comments

  1. To paraphrase what one of Robert A. Heinlein’s characters had to say about artists:

    “A government-supported church is an incompetent whore.”

  2. Deklan says:

    They allow religious groups in schools do to a “separation of church and state” issue but they will take tax payers money to fund them??

  3. Deklan says:

    *don’t allow

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