October 26, 2014 · 2 Cheshvan

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Florida Supreme Court Upholds Separation of Church and State: Reform Movement Hails Decision on Dangerous Ballot Initiatives

Saperstein and Peppard Winograd: While hiding their true intent and effect behind misleading language, the initiatives, if passed, would have resulted in direct government support to religious institutions as well as altered the state constitution to permit government funding of sectarian education.

Contact Kate Bigam or Arielle Gingold
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 3 – In response to today’s unanimous ruling by the Florida Supreme Court removing from the November ballot two initiatives that threatened to use public funds for religious purposes, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Joan Peppard Winograd, Assistant Regional Director of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Southeast Council, issued the following statement:

We applaud the Florida Supreme Court’s decision to strike initiatives 7 and 9 from the November ballot. First and foremost, these proposals were misleading to voters. While hiding their true intent and effect behind misleading language, the initiatives, if passed, would have resulted in direct government support to religious institutions as well as altered the state constitution to permit government funding of sectarian education.  Such provisions serve neither the interests of students nor those of Americans who understand that the separation of church and state has allowed all religions to flourish throughout our nation’s history. Had they passed, the initiatives likely would have spurred similar efforts in the 36 states that have in their constitutions provisions barring government support for religious institutions. Florida’s voters, students, indeed all its residents, and the American people, are well served by today’s court decision.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.



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