Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stimulus Money to Go to Pretty Much Everything But Religion

Why stop when you're on a roll?

According to the bill, which the Democratic-controlled House passed despite unanimous Republican opposition, funds are prohibited from being used for the "modernization, renovation, or repair" of facilities that allow "sectarian instruction, religious worship or a school or department of divinity."

Critics say that could include public schools that permit religious groups to meet on campus. The House provided $20 billion for the infrastructure improvements, of which $6 billion would go to higher education facilities where the limitations would be applied.

"What the government is doing is discriminating against religious viewpoints," said Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that works to advance religious freedom.

full article, Fox

First of all why is school renovation and rebuilding part of an "economic" stimulus package? Is that going to stimulate the economy today, tomorrow, or next week. It's kind of a reach, isn't it?

Secondly, my problem isn't with a government bill not promoting a particular religion. My problem is that these things do and have left the door open to such situations as denying funding to schools which support religious groups meeting on campus. Haven't we already stretched the wording of the First Amendment far enough in creating a "wall" between Church and State.

Actual Wording of 1st Amendment:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

No state religion, no prohibition on the free exercise of it. Simple enough?

How about facilities which give equal access to all religious groups? Does an atheist or secular humanist group count as religious?

-Steve K.

No comments: