Fla. to Consider Key Church-State Question

May 15, 2008

Author: Jacqueline L. Salmon

Source: The Washington Post


The potential repeal of a century-old Florida law barring state funding for religiously affiliated organizations is to be put before the voters there this fall, at the end of a lobbying battle that has attracted the attention of President Bush and has engaged a coalition of liberal or secular educational groups.

The vote is widely considered the first of numerous state battles over the funding ban. It exists in 36 other states but has been targeted by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a Washington-based law firm, and by activists in the states.

At stake is the Blaine Amendment, a type of law enacted in states about a century ago as an attempt by the country's Protestant majority to block government support for Catholic schools. The Blaine laws have long kept religious schools and, in some states such as Florida, many programs run by religiously affiliated organizations, away from the public coffers.

See also: Civic, Schools