Washington, DC — The Secular Coalition for America released a statement today condemning a provision (section 20604) of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 which would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to distribute disaster relief funding to houses of worship “without regard to the religious character of the facility or the primary religious use of the facility.”
Statement by Larry T. Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America
“This bill would rebuild churches by knocking down the wall of separation between church and state. Contrary to the religious right’s talking points, houses of worship can already be reimbursed for any costs they incur while providing relief and assistance during natural disasters. This provision hidden in the Bipartisan Budget Act would give churches a special entitlement to taxpayer money by requiring FEMA to fund the reconstruction of religious facilities. It is unconstitutional and unconscionable for Congress to decree that churches are entitled to taxpayer funding. The First Amendment guarantees all Americans the right to decide for themselves what religious institutions, if any, they support with their money. If Congress votes to put FEMA in the business of building churches, it will violate this core constitutional principle and compromise the very foundation of our secular government.”
Contact: Casey Brescia
Communications Associate and Spokesman
[email protected], (845)-380-6201
The Secular Coalition for America is the nation’s premier advocacy organization representing atheists, humanists, agnostics, and other nontheists. Its mission is to increase the visibility of and respect for nontheistic viewpoints in the United States, and to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all. The Secular Coalition represents 18 voting member organizations.