Now FEMA is doing it, and it’s religious discrimination. Churches, bastions of succor in times of disaster—like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma—suffer their own damages in those disasters, as they did in Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. However, unlike other charitable organizations in similar straits, churches are being denied FEMA assistance to recover.
Law on this is not clear because separation of church and state, New York University Law Professor Burt Neuborne is claiming.
The difficulty is that the Constitution has two provisions in it. It has a freedom of religion, but it also has kind of a freedom from religion which prevents government money from being used for religious purposes, worship purposes.
No, it doesn’t. This is, at best, mistaken. The two relevant 1st Amendment clauses are the Free Exercise Clause—Congress shall make no law…prohibiting the free exercise thereof [of religion]—and the Establishment Clause—Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. There’s nothing in there about freedom from religion; that’s just the distortionate drivel used by crowds like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the like.
The Federal government cannot favor one religion over another or favor religion over atheism; there’s nothing in there that prohibits the Feds from providing disaster recovery help to religious organizations along with the same sort of help for secular non-profit organizations. In fact, refusing to do so violates the Establishment Clause by actively disfavoring religion rather than acting neutrally toward it—as the Clause requires.
Neuborne wasn’t finished.
The question is: can they get the money and rebuild their worship facilities? Because then the money would be going towards worship, not to help people from not getting skinned knees on the playground, or being able to get food at the food bank.
This is just disingenuous. No, the money would not be going toward worship, it would be going toward restoring a building. A building that comes in critically handy for sheltering those displaced by disasters, natural or otherwise. Regardless of the religions (or lack) of the sheltered or the shelter.
The attacks on religion from continues.