ADL Urges Florida Voters: Keep Government Out Of Religion, Vote No On Amendment 8

Boca Raton, October 17, 2012…Today, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) directly emailed over 40,000 Floridians urging them to vote no on Amendment 8.  This e-mail is part of ADL's vigorous advocacy against Amendment 8, which started in 2011 when this harmful measure was initiated by the Florida Legislature.

David Barkey, ADL's Florida-based National Religious Freedom Counsel, issued the following statement:

"Deceptively titled 'Religious Freedom,' Amendment 8 has everything to do with state funding of Florida houses of worship It has nothing to do with the right of Floridians freely to practice their various faiths in our houses of worship.

"For 127 years, the Florida Constitution has served its citizens well.  It allows religiously-affiliated groups like Catholic Charities, Jewish Federations and Lutheran Social Services to obtain taxpayer dollars to perform important social services open to all qualified Floridians.  However, it wisely draws the line at funding religious activities and houses of worship."

ADL's e-mail exposes the misleading nature of Amendment 8.  It warns voters that Amendment 8 would undercut separation of church and state in Florida.  If adopted, the Amendment would channel taxpayer dollars directly to houses of worship under many circumstances, without any accountability as to whether state funds are used for proselytizing or religious activities.  And Amendment 8 is in no way limited to mainstream religious groups.  Any group calling itself a religion – no matter how offensive, hateful or extreme – could not be denied taxpayer dollars because of its beliefs.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.