October 23, 2012 3:39 pm
This Election Day, you have a chance to vote on a critical ballot initiative. The Florida ballot contains a misnamed constitutional amendment that will allow Florida state funds to directly fund religious organizations. Please vote NO on Florida Amendment #8.
The Religious Right’s latest tactic is to mask their attempts to tear down Jefferson’s wall under the guise of “religious freedom.” In reality, the only freedom they seek is the freedom to impose their religion on others. Now they want to use state funds — your tax money — to do so.
A fair government cannot exist unless that government is free from religion. Citizens are of diverse religious beliefs or no belief at all. It is simply unfair — and unconstitutional — to ask a diverse citizenry to support a religious group of the government’s choice. James Madison once rhetorically asked, “Who does not see . . . That the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?”
This amendment is deceptive. The so-called “Florida Religious Freedom Amendment” will allow religious groups to proselytize and discriminate with state funds. It will defund public schools in favor of private religious schools. It will allow the state to give money directly to religious organizations.
It is instructive that the few groups that support the amendment are tied to the Catholic church or Focus on the Family. The Catholic church supports the amendment because if it is successful, they stand to gain millions of taxpayer dollars otherwise prohibited to them. The Church is aggressively pursuing public funds. According to a recent exposé in the Economist, “the finances of the Catholic church in America are an unholy mess… the various sexual-abuse cases [have] cost the American church more than $3 billion so far.” Is this really where taxpayer money should be going?
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