Re: [humanism-174] From the Secular Coalition for America

From: Ryan
Sent on: Thursday, July 18, 2013 12:46 PM
I, too, sent letters to Senators Portman and Brown.  Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Sheri!

A very important issue that would likely have gone unnoticed by most.


On Thu, Jul 18, 2013 at 12:33 PM, Randy Pelton <[address removed]> wrote:
I too sent a letter. I sent the form letter that SCA had available but I added some remarks of my own to it. My remarks in bold-faced and italicized.

As a constituent I am writing to urge you to vote NO on S.1274, authorizing FEMA aid for houses of worship.

This is a blatant violation of the constitutional prohibition on government endorsement of religion. FEMA aid is only available to nonprofits that perform services the government normally provides. There is no clearer example of services the government is constitutionally barred from offering than religious services. This disgraces our longstanding principle that no citizen should be required to fund a religion with which he or she disagrees. And make no mistake about it. I object because you will be using some of my taxes to fund this egregious assault on my liberties. While my share of any such funding might amount to no more than a penny or less, it is still a violation of my rights as well as all those millions of other Americans who support the separation of church and state principle in the First Amendment. You have no right to use even one penny or even a fraction of a penny of my tax dollars to support any religious institution.

The power to define which organizations are eligible to receive federal aid is vested in the President, as reaffirmed by this bill. Yet Congress usurps its own language when it carves out a special exception for religion. By doing so, it adds millions of dollars of federal spending, in a time of belt tightening, to finance organizations with established worldwide charitable networks.

The legislative leaps and constitutional violations required to give this preferential treatment to houses of worship shock the conscience.

This bill is dangerous for our economy, our conscience, and the religious freedoms of every American.

Typically I would end such a letter by simply asking that you vote NO on a piece of legislation with which I disagree. But in this case I am going to be a little bolder by demanding, rather than simply asking, that you abide by the principle of church/state separation and adhere to the constitutional prohibition placed upon you as an elected leader by the First Amendment and vote NO on S. 1274. A no vote in this case is required by your duty to abide by the constitution.

Thank you


From: sheri presloid <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Thursday, July 18,[masked]:34 AM
Subject: [humanism-174] From the Secular Coalition for America

I don't remember reading about this.  Thought I would share.



FEMA Funds to Rebuild Churches: A bill that would allow federal grant money to go directly to the brick and mortar rebuilding of churches and other houses of worship is now being considered in the Senate, despite assurances that it would not. The bill would reverse years of Supreme Court precedent and directly conflict with the First Amendment to the Constitution. Additionally, permitting public grants for churches and other houses of worship would unfairly privilege religious institutions above secular institutions, many of which are not eligible for the grants. It was introduced on Thursday, co-sponsored by Senators Gillibrand (D-NY) and Blunt (R-MO). The bill has already passed in the House in February.  Our Action Alert went out this morning and can be at secular.org/activism. Help us tell the Senate that every brick used to build a church, is a brick taken from the wall of separation!  We sent a letter opposing FEMA funding to rebuild churches to Hill staffers this morning.





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