The Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) convenes once every 20 years to examine the Florida Constitution and propose changes for voter consideration. Committees of the Florida CRC are currently discussing several proposals. One proposal in particular that is being consider is Proposal 4 by CRC Commissioner Roberto Martinez. This proposal would remove Florida’s Blaine amendment from the state constitution. First adopted in 1885, the provision prohibits public funding of religious institutions. Anti-Catholic prejudice and racial prejudice gave rise to the amendment in Florida, which, together with the separate but equal amendments, segregated schools and prohibited Catholic religious orders from educating freed slaves.
Currently, there is a long and successful history of collaboration between the state and faith-based organizations in several areas in Florida. Education, health care, disaster relief, and prison ministry are just a sampling of areas where faith-based organizations are partnering with the state. While these partnerships are widely supported, they could be at risk due to potential challenges under the Blaine amendment. It is time to recognize the right of faith-based organizations to be part of the public square and see Blaine for what it is, prejudicial language that is an anachronism in our state constitution.
Proposal 4 was reported favorably by the CRC Declaration of Rights committee last November and will be voted on in its final committee of reference, the CRC Education Committee, on Friday, January 24.
Please contact the members of the CRC Education Committee and urge them to right a 133-year historical wrong and support Proposal 4. Click here to customize and send your message.