(i) used for sectarian instruction, religious worship, or a school or department of divinity; orTo no one's surprise the religious right is all over this, calling it unconstitutional and discrimination. An email in my inbox from the American Family Association contains some spectacular hyperbole:
(ii) in which a substantial portion of the functions of the facilities are subsumed in a religious mission;
"Our culture cannot survive without faith and our nation cannot survive without freedom. This provision is an assault against both. It's un-American and it's unconstitutional. Intolerant and it's intolerable."And.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich feels that if Christian activists would have enough courage and holy anger to e-mail and call their representatives and senators, a number of Democrats would vote no on final passage. We should demand that this anti-religious provision be removed.I totally love the idea of holy anger. Sounds quite acceptable when you put it that way. The AFA continues:
Christians have not expressed enough outrage focused on the concept that people of faith are being taken advantage of by the stimulus bill during a time of crisis. They are being stolen from them when they are down and out and looking in good faith to the government for help. Instead of the stimulus we need, the liberals are getting the pork that they want -- for themselves, their families, and their friends. They are pickpockets and thieves preying on the down and out.It's the evil liberals stealing the hard-earned money from the saintly Christians, again.
Just how are they being taken advantage of, those people of faith? Are they unable to use all their buildings primarily for worship, while liberals can unrestrained go ahead and use it for porky things? The liberals are doing great during these financially troubled times, and now with Satan's henchman in the White House they can finally suck the last life out of every decent person of faith in God's own country.
Senator DeMint (R-SC) made this statement:
"Our culture cannot survive without faith and our nation cannot survive without freedom. This provision is an assault against both. It's un-American and it's unconstitutional. Intolerant and it's intolerable."We won't tolerate such intolerance!!!
Except, it really isn't unconstitutional. Quite the opposite, in fact:
“It’s almost a restatement of what the Constitution requires so there’s nothing novel in what the House did in its restriction,” Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel to the ACLU told Fox News.Seriously, let's not use government money for religious purposes. Remember the separation of church and state? It's in the constitution. Not using government funds to renovate buildings of worship is in no way tantamount to suppressing people of faith. Rather, it means not favoring religious institutions even more than they already are. On the other hand, if they all started paying taxes like all the other corporations, then they could at least come to the table without overusing their quota of hypocrisy.
“For 37 years, the law of the land is that the government can’t pay for buildings that are used for religious purposes.” [Source.]