White House Report Promotes Illegal Aid to Religion

Today’s White House report on “barriers” faith-based groups face in
obtaining federal grants is just the latest step in the Bush
administration’s drive to unconstitutionally fund religion with tax dollars,
Americans United for Separation of Church and State has charged.

The White House report, titled “Unlevel Playing Field: Barriers to
Faith-Based and Community Organizations’ Participation in Federal Social
Service Programs,” was released this afternoon at the Brookings Institution.
It insists that religious groups face up to 15 “barriers” when they seek
federal funds from five federal agencies to provide social services.

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, said that
the White House report misreads Supreme Court decisions on church and state
and could lead to a lawsuit if it is recklessly implemented.

“If the Bush administration tries to change federal regulations and fund
religion, we will immediately file suit in federal court,” said AU’s Lynn.
“When Bush talks about removing ‘barriers’ to funding religion, it’s clear
he wants to bulldoze the wall that separates church and state. Taxpayers
must never be forced to support religions they don’t believe in.”

Lynn speculated that the Bush administration may be pessimistic that its
“faith-based” initiative” cannot clear the Senate and it looking at
regulatory changes as an alternative.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington,
D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the
importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

To check AU’s full coverage of the White House faith-based initiative, visit their online report.