More on `The Blaine Game'. (Letters).While your account of the origins of the Massachusetts constitutional provision barring aid to religion ("The Blaine Game," September Church & State) is not wildly inaccurate, I am afraid you have been to a modest extent the victim of disinformation dis·in·for·ma·tion
1. Deliberately misleading information announced publicly or leaked by a government or especially by an intelligence agency in order to influence public opinion or the government in another nation: by the Becket beck·et
A device, such as a looped rope, hook and eye, strap, or grommet, used to hold or fasten loose ropes, spars, or oars in position.
Noun 1. Fund.
While the original predecessor to the present Massachusetts amendment was passed by a legislature dominated by the anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic Know-Nothings in 1854, the present amendment (which contains the language which you quoted in your article) dates from 1974 and contains not a word of the original version. The 1854 language was quite different and may well be correctly interpreted as intending to prevent public support of Catholic schools while maintaining the predominantly Protestant character of the public schools. In this respect, it may be seen as partaking of the ambivalence of the Blaine Amendment The term Blaine Amendment refers to amendments or provisions that exist in most state constitutions in the United States that forbid direct government aid to educational institutions that have any religious affiliation.
The amendments are named after James G. and of James G. Blaine James Gillespie Blaine (January 31, 1830 – January 27, 1893) was a U.S. Representative, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, U.S. Senator from Maine and a two-time United States Secretary of State. himself who at the same time spoke out against "sectarianism" while endorsing the use of the (presumably pre·sum·a·ble
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster. Protestant) Bible in the schools Bible in the Schools is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Its objective is to be the resource developer for biblical literacy in the Hamilton County public schools and consultant to other Tennessee public school districts serving as a model for the .
In 1917-1918 a constitutional convention rewrote large parts of the original 1780 Massachusetts constitution The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the fundamental governing document of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It was written by John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Bowdoin. , and the two most hotly contested items were the "anti-aid" amendment, number 46, and a new provision for initiative and referendum In U.S. politics, initiative and referendum is a process that allows citizens of many U.S. states to vote directly on proposed legislation.
Initiative and referendum, along with recall elections and primary elections, is one of the signature reforms of the Progressive Era. , Amendment 48. Indeed, the debate over article 48, was the sharper and more protracted pro·tract
tr.v. pro·tract·ed, pro·tract·ing, pro·tracts
1. To draw out or lengthen in time; prolong: disputants who needlessly protracted the negotiations.
2. of the two. (This is significant because article 48, among other things, prohibits making any law touching on religion or, specifically, article 46, the subject of a popularly initiated referendum; and the origin of the pending federal action in Massachusetts being funded by the Becket Fund was an attack on the state Attorney General's ruling that the repeal of article 46 could not be placed on the ballot by petition.)
The 1917 convention, in which about a third of the delegates were themselves Catholic, adopted a much broader amendment which incorporated a free exercise guarantee, previously absent from our constitution (remember, the applicability of the federal First Amendment to the states was not finally settled until 1940), and forbade state support of any charitable or educational institution not under exclusive state control. This was a compromise worked out with the active participation of the Catholic leadership in the convention, who felt that there were nominally non-sectarian institutions of all kinds, not just public schools, which were infused with Protestantism and that the simplest solution was to deny public money to any of them. Of the 92 Catholic delegates to the convention, 85 voted for this provision. It was submitted to the voters and approved by them.
In 1974, Article 46 was further amended to permit state funding for higher education, even in religiously affiliated institutions. The language was rewritten to eliminate all of the remnants of the 1854 measure. It was submitted to the voters, who overwhelmingly approved it. Attempts to repeal Article 46 in 1982 and 1986 failed by overwhelming majorities.
It is, consequently, utterly spurious to call our present anti-aid amendment a Blaine Amendment or a Know-Nothing amendment. It is, in fact, a thoroughly 20th-century provision, most recently rewritten and approved by the voters less than 30 years ago. This, of course, does not stop its opponents from alleging that it is fatally tainted with anti-Catholic animus Animus - ["Constraint-Based Animation: The Implementation of Temporal Constraints in the Animus System", R. Duisberg, PhD Thesis U Washington 1986]. . I do not give their lawsuit much hope, however.
Joel Z. Eigerman Cambridge, Mass.