The Secular Coalition for America released a statement on Friday condemning a Senate bill that would provide churches with federal grants for the repair of their property in the aftermath of recent natural disasters. This bill would amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to permit churches and other religious organizations to receive funds from FEMA.
“The government cannot compel taxpayers to support religious institutions,” said Larry T. Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America, according to the Daily Caller.
He continued, "Our hearts go out to all who were impacted by the recent hurricanes but religious freedom is a value that must be defended in the best and worst of times. This legislation, however well-intentioned, will rebuild houses of worship by knocking down the wall of separation between church and state.”
“It is frankly appalling to see the religious right and the lawmakers beholden to them using these recent tragedies as a pretense to advance their agenda,” Decker continued. “I support ensuring those commodities make it to places where people are being cared for but, it cannot be stressed enough, that this is not what this bill does. This legislation crosses a dangerous new line by putting the government in the business of building churches.”
The Daily Caller reports that Texas Governor Greg Abbot supports the measure and that he sent a letter to President Trump on Wednesday asking him to grant religious institutions access to federal funds for disaster relief.
For those who are unaware, churches have played an indispensable role in the recovery effort in both Florida and Texas, according to Christianity Today.
"Nine churches in the Houston area served as temporary shelters for the city until survivors could be moved safely to other venues, such as the downtown convention center where officials are coordinating relief efforts," writes CT. "One of them, Fallbrook Church in north Houston, has already transported all of its evacuees and closed."
Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, a former faith adviser to George W. Bush, announced that his church began sheltering residents. And the Episcopal church deployed spiritual care teams to walk the hardest-hit areas and delivered Home Depot gift cards as well as pastoral care to victims. Not only that, but dozens of churches launched websites where people can request relief, volunteer, donate, and mobilize to help victims. Churches also played an indispensable role after Hurricane Irma.
In recent news, Michelle Obama just bashed President Donald Trump for an outrageous reason.