The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which would fund the government for two years while increasing military spending and doing nothing to solve our immigration impasse, has another aspect to it which shouldn’t be ignored. On page 49 of the bill, there’s an amendment that would allow Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to rebuild churches after a natural disaster.
“(C) RELIGIOUS FACILITIES. — A church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other house of worship, educational facility, or any other private nonprofit facility, shall be eligible for contributions under paragraph (1)(B), without regard to the religious character of the facility or the primary religious use of the facility. No house of worship, educational facility, or any other private nonprofit facility may be excluded from receiving contributions under paragraph (1)(B) because leadership or membership in the organization operating the house of worship is limited to persons who share a religious faith or practice.”
Last month, FEMA changed its own policies to allow churches to receive that money. But because that policy could change with a new administration, conservatives needed a way to make that change permanent.
That’s why Republicans inserted a similar provision in the new budget bill. Church/state separation groups are sounding the alarms.
The Secular Coalition for America’s Larry T. Decker called this move “unconstitutional and unconscionable“:
“This bill would rebuild churches by knocking down the wall of separation between church and state.
Read the full story at the Friendly Atheist Blog