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OU backs repeal of Fla. funding law

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Orthodox Union told Florida’s House of Representatives that it backs a repeal of a law that bans public funds for faith-based schools, activities and charities.

The law’s current language bans public funds "in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution."

Proposed new language that would ban discrimination on a religious basis is preferable, the OU said in written testimony submitted Tuesday to the Florida House’s civil justice subcommittee, because it "would correct state-sanctioned religious discrimination that in practice affects all faiths in Florida."

Faith-based schools and charities are ineligible for state funds, even for activities having nothing to do with schools.

If the language, which was adopted during anti-Catholic fervor in the 19th century, is replaced, "no one in Florida of any faith will be forced to a religiously affiliated program," the testimony said. "No one in Florida will be able to proselytize using government funds. And no public dollars will advance any religious belief."

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