NEW YORK (Oct. 18)
The New York Department of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA went on record today as opposing adoption of the proposed new Constitution for New York because it eliminates the Blaine Amendment, the 73-year-old prohibition against the use of public funds for parochial schools.
A special meeting of the department’s executive committee today voted overwhelmingly to reject the proposed charter which will be submitted for approval in the November 7 election. A resolution adopted by the committee stressed that “we reject this document on the ground that an essentially basic element has been excised, namely Article XI, Section 3 (the Blaine Amendment) which guarantees the separation of church and state in education.”
The resolution noted that since the entire charter was offered to the voters as “one package,” the deletion of the Blaine Amendment left no alternative but rejection of the entire document.
A joint statement by State Commander Louis J. Klein and Benjamin Silverman, co-chairmen of the public affairs committee, stressed the belief that elimination of the barrier against use of public funds for parochial schools endangered the public school system which was “the catalyst which gave freedom of opportunity to a nation of immigrants and made possible the ‘melting pot’ which created a unity of identity and mutuality of purpose for persons of different national origins, ethnic backgrounds and religious persuasions.”
The statement warned that public education needs continued to grow and that “syphoning-off such scarce funds for private and parochial schools would sound the death-knell for the public school system.” It warned also that the effect would be “to create rivalries among the different religious faiths.”
The statement noted that “although there may be good sections in the proposed Constitution, these can be adopted by amendment. The Constitution in one package, however, leaves no alternative to the rejection of the Constitution as a whole, because of its imminent and urgent threat to the principle of separation of church and state and the threat to the free, universal, tax-supported public school system.”