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Vote No on Amendment 8 E-mail

florida-vote-no-on-amendment 8Welcome to the Baptist Joint Committee’s resource page about Florida’s Amendment 8, which will be on the state ballot on Nov. 6, 2012.

UPDATE: Florida voters rejected Amendment 8 on Nov. 6, 2012! Click here to read more.

The BJC believes Amendment 8 is misleading, unwise, and could harm religious liberty.

Visit the links below to find out how you can protect religious liberty in Florida by defeating Amendment 8, and share these resources with your friends, neighbors and colleagues. Also, encourage clergy and religious leaders to sign the clergy letter, pledging support for religious liberty and opposition to Amendment.

Click here for answers to some frequently asked questions about Amendment 8.

Click here to see a letter that religious leaders and members of the clergy can sign, protesting Amendment 8. 

Click here to visit another website devoted to defeating Amendment 8.

Plus, don’t forget to share your thoughts via social media!

Click here to visit the Vote No On 8 Facebook page.

Click here to see the Vote No on 8 Twitter updates.

Amendment 8 would amend the Florida Constitution by repealing an important provision that prohibits direct or indirect state funding of churches and other sectarian institutions. This “no-aid” provision has been part of the state constitution since 1885 and has been re-ratified three times since its adoption, most recently in 1997. The Baptist Joint Committee supports no-aid provisions because they safeguard religious liberty in two important ways. They ensure that government does not improperly advance religion, and they restrict government interference into the private affairs of religious organizations. Amendment 8 is misleading, unwise, and could actually harm religious liberty.
Amendment 8 is misleading because its language suggests that the measure is somehow necessary to prevent discrimination against religious entities seeking state aid to provide educational and other social services. In fact, under Florida law, the government can and does successfully partner with religiously-affiliated organizations to provide such services. Houses of worship and other religious organizations are free to form separate affiliates that use tax money to provide social services, but they may not integrate religious activities into the tax-funded services or discriminate based on religion in publicly-funded programs. These limitations help preserve religious liberty by making it clear that the government does not endorse any particular religious message or require religious adherence as the price of receiving generally available benefits.
Another important function of state no-aid provisions is preventing direct government aid to private religious schools. The BJC opposes vouchers and other taxpayer funding of religious education. While we affirm the right of parents to choose a religious education for their children, we oppose using public funds to support religion. Religious teachings should be funded by voluntary contributions, not through compulsory taxation. Voucher programs that provide tuition to religious schools violate the freedom of conscience of taxpayers who have the right to insist that the government remain neutral in matters of religion. Additionally, government funding of religious education jeopardizes the autonomy of religious schools, inviting regulations and bringing political pressures that threaten the schools’ religious character. Amendment 8 would open the door to this kind of state funding and interference into religious institutions.
For these reasons, the BJC urges you to vote no on Amendment 8 and to help us defeat this dangerous measure.