Oklahoma voters will be asked whether they would like to repeal Article II, Section 5 of the Oklahoma Constitution, known as the “Blaine Amendment.” The amendment’s original text says the following:
“No state shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and no money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools, or derived from any public fund therefor, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect; nor shall any money so raised or lands so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations.”
“It was not widely appreciated until recently that Blaine Amendments were passed as a direct result of the nativist, anti-Catholic bigotry that was a recurring theme in American politics during the 19th and early 20th centuries,” writes the Becket Fund, a group currently fighting Blaine Amendments in several states.
Sen. Rob Standridge, author of Oklahoma’s resolution, said many Oklahomans “have expressed dismay such a discriminatory provision was still in our constitution. This measure will give the final say to the citizens of our state.”