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Florida Amendment 8 Harmful Not Helpful to Religious Freedom

An Open Letter from NARLA-Southern Union to Seventh-day Adventist Church Members in Florida

Dear Pastors and Religious Liberty Leaders:

Over the last 12 years, we have been watching Florida state lawmakers' attempts to fund private and religious schools in Florida with tax dollars. It has become apparent they will stop at nothing to do away with your state constitutional protection that prohibits tax dollars going to support religious activity. Do not be fooled, Amendment 8 is NOT a religious freedom amendment; it is a do-away-with religious freedom amendment. Contrary to what others are saying it does NOT advance religious liberty.

The North American Religious Liberty Association Southern Union chapter (NARLA-SU) has prayerfully considered all the ramifications to this particular amendment and it is our belief that this amendment is extremely dangerous to religious freedom. Many in the Christian community may be supporting this amendment as a means of getting more support for their special church projects. In the religious liberty department we believe that church autonomy is more important than access to tax dollars. Those who understand how delicate a balance we have between church and state also understand how this amendment is the first of many potentially dangerous policy moves that would take us down a road to intolerance, prejudicial bias, unhealthy competition between churches (for tax dollars) and government watch dogs within churches. Students of history know, “There are no government shekels without government shackles.”

As Seventh-day Adventists we have historically been protectors of both state and federal constitutions; using extreme caution when constitutional changes are proposed. We should exercise this same caution in Florida when voting on any proposed amendments, especially Amendment 8.

It is not our design to tell members how to vote. With that in mind, we have provided a Florida Amendment 8 Fact Sheet and Bulletin Insert in order to send church members to the voting booths as informed citizens who understand exactly what is at stake. While we cannot and should not endorse political candidates we are encouraged to speak on issues or policies, especially those that effect religious freedom and church autonomy. Religion with its hand out to government cannot fulfill its prophetic duty.

Yours in Christ’s service,

Amireh Al-Haddad

-Link to Amendment 8 Fact Sheet

-Link to Amendment 8 Bulletin Intsert