I'm glad to see this discussion of the so-called "Blaine Amendments" and the potential impact of vouchers on the separation of church and state.Oklahoma's Constitution has a similar clause - Article 2 Section 5 - which was the target of a potential state question in this year's session of the legislature, as it is viewed by religious conservatives as an impediment to getting their hands on tax money, primarily through the Governor's Office of Faith-based Initiatives.For this reason it has been near and dear to the hearts of supporters of the separation of church and state here in Oklahoma, and I was dismayed to see it coming under attack when word of SJR23 got out at the local AU chapter's legislative preview in January.So much so that I posted at the blog of the Coalition for Secular Government on the possibility that this could be the opening round in a campaign to put ALL religious establishment clauses in state constitutions to the ballot.While I'm glad to see that this has not happened - yet - I don't think it can be ruled out and caution supporters of church/state separation to remain vigilant.While clauses in state constitutions specifically targeting religious funding - a la the "Blaine" Amendment - may be relatively recent, religious establishment clauses predate the Constitution itself and are a crucial backup to the First Amendment. I'm sure you already know that the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom inspired the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Quillen's piece is EXCELLENT!DeGrow makes some good points but basically drops context.I am dismayed at the news from Florida! Obviously I need to catch up on what's going on here.
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