A lot of background on this can be found in our last update. The next indented paragraph will give you a little bit of information, which you can skip if you’ve been following this topic:
The Florida legislature is considering a constitutional amendment, House Joint Resolution 1471 – Religious Freedom, sponsored by Rep. Scott Plakon (R). The proposed amendment would remove language from the Constitution that prohibits state funding to religious organizations. You can read the amendment’s text here (5-page pdf file). Specifically, it would repeal Florida’s Blaine Amendment language, the last sentence of Article I, Section 3 of the current Florida Constitution.
In the Miami Herald we read Fla. House voting on religious funding ban repeal. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
The Florida Constitution’s ban on spending public funds to aid churches and other religious organizations would be repealed by an amendment that won approval Wednesday in the Florida House.
The 81-35 vote sent the proposal (HJR 1471) to the Senate where a similar measure (SB 1218) is stalled in committee. Three Democrats joined all Republicans in favor of the proposal.
Isn’t that sweet? If this mess passes and the state’s Constitution is changed, politically influential churches will be able to grab a chunk of the state’s treasury — that’s money that comes not from tithing; it’s paid involuntarily by taxpayers.
Ah, we see a nice lady sitting in the back with a question. Yes, my dear, what’s bothering you? Oh, you want to know what’s wrong with state funding of churches. Well, you might take a look at The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. You’ll be tossing out Jefferson’s thinking and replacing it with Plakon’s. Clear enough?
Let’s read on in the Herald:
Republicans said the funding ban was a vestige of 19th century anti-Catholic bigotry and could cut off public dollars now going to religious hospitals and schools including voucher programs and college scholarships. “This bill is simply about righting a wrong that happened in our state 126 years ago,” said the sponsor, Rep. Scott Plakon.
There’s no need for us to be polite about this, so we’ll give it to you straight: Plakon is a lying theocratic dirtbag and maniac. His amendment doesn’t limit state funding of churches for running their hospitals and schools. It’s unlimited. With the Blaine restrictions gone, taxpayers’ money can be used for clergy salaries and for witch hunts.
It’ll start slow. At first there will only be coerced funding of niceness; then there will be programs to prohibit sinfulness — you know, wicked things like dancing, card-playing, and maybe hand-holding outside the bonds of holy matrimony. Before long they’ll be banning books — Darwin’s work first. After the people are accustomed to that it’s an easy step to Salem-style witch trials.
Anyway, the nightmare amendment passed the House. Now it has to pass the Senate. The required vote for a constitutional amendment is three-fifths of each chamber. If that happens, there must be 60% voter approval. So it’s not over yet. But the eclipse may be coming.
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