f Humanisticus: Will Religions Soon be Allowed State Funding?

Monday, 9 July 2012

Will Religions Soon be Allowed State Funding?

If it is not bad enough that the multi-billion dollar industry that is religion does not pay taxes, it now turns out they will be able to receive funding from tax money. In Florida, amendment 8 will appear on the ballot boxes on November 6th 2012. If passed it will alter Section 3 of the Florida Constitution which currently states,

‘There shall be no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or penalizing the free exercise thereof. Religious freedom shall not justify practices inconsistent with public morals, peace, or safety. 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 wording clearly prevents any religious institution form benefiting from public funds and upholds the separation of church and State ethos of the US; however, if the amendment is passed then this section shall be re-worded.

‘There shall be no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or penalizing the free exercise thereof. Religious freedom shall not justify practices inconsistent with public morals, peace, or safety. No individual or entity may be discriminated against or barred from receiving funding on the basis of religious identity or belief.’
The amendment removes the segment prohibiting religions profiting from tax funds and replaces it with a sentence which in theory allows any and all religions to pilfer from state coffers. I say in theory because if both a Christian and Islamic group applies for funds I think we know who the recipient would be. The title of the amendment is the Religious Freedom amendment as if somehow not being allowed state funds is somehow discriminatory. This will also divert much needed funds from public schools to private religious schools which are already generally well-funded. I feel the most worrying aspect, however, are copycat amendments produced in other states if this one is not challenged. Hopefully some brave soul will file a lawsuit as the amendment is clearly defying the US constitution and that will put an end to this amendment, and with luck any other amendments like this that may be in the pipeline.


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2 comments:

  1. If I start the Church of the Noodly One in my house, does that mean I get some of the funding action too?

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  2. There's been a story circulating in the news these days about a gop pol's reaction in LA concerning tax funds for religious schooling. Some Muslim/Muslim institutions are using the law for their purposes and the legislator was shocked that this (predictably) happened.

    Constitutional law is fairly decided in this matter. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Establishment_of_religion. If an Islamic insitution applies for State funding after they pass this, they have to provide it.

    To Anonymous' point above, a few years back Pennsylvania was considering allowing Intelligent Design to be taught in the (biology?) classroom. Some members of the Church of the FSM demanded that they also teach FSM creation myth which had the successful effect of reductio ad absurdum-izing the issue into being dropped.

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