Churches, ministries and the “independent” sector of secular volunteers mobilized to help hurricane victims.
But the Deep State bureaucrats in FEMA choose to discriminate unconstitutionally against the Christians.
If a church provides the same relief to Hurricane victims as a secular group and needs assistance to rebuild from costly destruction of its facilities:
- The secular group is entitled to FEMA recovery money.
- The church group is not entitled to FEMA recovery money.
For three Texas churches that helped their fellow man when Harvey hit, they are discovering the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is discriminating against them.
The Harvest Family Church, the Hi-Way Tabernacle and the Rockport First Assembly of God were all damaged during Harvey.
The First Assembly of God lost its steeple, roof and church van, while the other two churches were severely flooded.
In addition, the Hi-Way Tabernacle served as a FEMA staging center, sheltering up to 70 people and distributing more than 8,000 emergency meals.
But despite doing as much or more than a lot of the government-funded teams on the ground, faith-based groups are not getting FEMA Relief Fund aid.
The three churches applied for FEMA aid, and all three were turned down for the same reason: their religion.
FEMA excludes houses of worship from disaster relief grants … but not museums and zoos.
Now they have sued for the same benefits as everyone else, based on religious freedom.
Lawyers for the churches pointed out that they are not seeking special treatment, only a fair shake.
Even President Trump Tweeted that churches in Texas are entitled to FEMA relief funds, just like others.
The Texas governor and attorney general fired off a letter to the White House hoping to stir action:
“Churches have opened their doors to feed, shelter, comfort and rebuild their communities – even hosting FEMA operations in the process.
“But this policy has made those very same churches ineligible for assistance because their primary use is, by nature, religious.
“The policy of denying relief funds for churches discriminates on the grounds of religion and is nothing more than the relic of an administration that preferred rewriting laws to faithfully executing them.”
President Trump issued his religious liberty Executive Order on May 4 directing the Department of Justice to issue guidance to all federal agencies on “protecting and promoting” religious freedom.
FEMA’s religious intolerance in Texas underscores the fact that maybe it didn’t get the memo … and the need for a little more guidance.
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