On 06 November the voters of Florida will be deciding on Amendment 8 to their state Constitution. We’ve written about it before, most recently here: Creationists Favor Florida Theocracy Amendment.
The proposed amendment would remove language from the state Constitution (the so-called “Blaine Amendment”) that prohibits state funding of religious organizations. That language is now found in 37 state constitutions, and it says:
No revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.
The amendment on the Florida ballot to remove that safeguard is deceptively named “Religious Freedom,” which is certain to confuse voters who are unaware of its sinister consequences. Our last post on the subject has a load of background material, so we won’t repeat any of that here.
The latest news is that two prominent Republicans have announced they’re in favor of this abomination. First, here’s an excerpt from Former Governor Jeb Bush Endorses Amendment 8, which appears in The Sacramento Bee. It’s a press release, but that newspaper seems to publish a lot of those. It says, with bold font added by us:
Former Governor Jeb Bush today announced his support for Florida Amendment 8. “For decades, faith based organizations have provided Floridians with access to high-quality public services including medical care, housing, food, after school programs, and disaster relief. These are basic services that serve Floridians in a time a need,” said Governor Bush.
That’s pretty bad. Those activities already get funded by the state, even when they’re church-run, so that’s not the purpose of Amendment 8.
The next item is in some kind of student paper called theSOP — which seems to be the initials of the “Student Operated Press” of Vero Beach, Florida. Their article is Marco Rubio Endorses Amendments 6 & 8. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
U.S. Senator and former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Marco Rubio announced today that he formally supports Amendment 6 [which prohibits abortion funding] and Amendment 8, both on the November ballot here in Florida. “These amendments promote life and liberty and I am proud to support them and I strongly encourage Floridians to vote in favor of each,” said Rubio.
We’ve generally liked Rubio, but this isn’t the first time we’ve noticed a tendency he has to pander to the worst elements in the Republican party. See Marco Rubio: Creationist Theocrat for Senator? Here’s one more excerpt:
“It is time to remove this antiquated and arcane discriminatory provision from Florida`s constitution so the partnerships between the state and religious non-profits can continue,” he added. Passing amendment 8 will align the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution in terms of church and state relations.
Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are two major Republican leaders in Florida, but Amendment 8 is pretty much the exact opposite of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. It’s depressing to think how far things have gone in the wrong direction.
We’ve seen some recent editorials that are opposed to Amendment 8, but we suspect that the thing is going to be adopted. After that, it won’t be long before Florida adopts a new state flag, with Noah’s Ark prominently displayed in the center.
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