Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Blaine Amendments.

Watch today for news about a new bill in Florida that would end the ban on government funding for religious institutions. There are a number of Blaine amendments around the country, enacted in the late 1800s during what many call a period of anti-Catholic sentiment. While the amendments were enacted for the wrong reasons, they do the right thing. Their repeal would increase the federal funding of religious institutions - to anyone who ascribes to separation of church and state (as stated in the Establishment clause of the first amendment and held up in common law since then), a clear violation.

For more noise on the Blaine Amendments and some history, see here, here, here and here.

As an aside, I was speaking to a class yesterday about abortion and assisted suicide. Both caused a stir during the health care debate with conservatives crying "not with my tax dollars." Yet we don't hear the same cries regarding other governmental support of services that other minority groups oppose. And that list is long. My single point is that the Religious Right has won the illegitimate battle of decrying what they oppose as unworthy of government funding. Those who support separation of church and state know they can't make the same arguments because, well, we all pay for lots of services we don't agree with or make use of.

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