Senator Rupp seeks to end ban on public funding for religious schools

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A member of the Missouri legislature wants to end the state’s constitutional ban on providing public funds to religious organizations.

Calling it an injustice toward churches and other faith-based organizations, Sen. Scott Rupp, R-St. Charles, introduced legislation this month that would repeal a portion of the “Blaine Amendment” from the state constitution.

Senate Joint Resolution 47, would make it so neither the General Assembly nor any Missouri township can deny general state financial benefits to any educational program – including those with a religious affiliation.

Although the Blaine Amendment is intended to enforce the separation between church and state, Rupp argues that religious schools are put at a disadvantage compared to other secular private schools that enjoy limited subsidies from the state.

“It’s about time Missouri stopped its discrimination towards religious organizations and the good Missourians who support them and their mission,” Rupp said.

Blain Amendments appear in a number of state constitutions, named for Republican lawmaker James G. Blaine, who popularized the amendments in the late 1800s. He sought unsuccessfully to have the bill written into the federal constitution as a means of codifying the first amendment’s widely interpreted separation of church and state.