Trump wants FEMA to reimburse churches for helping victims of Hurricane Harvey

Trump and churchesThis tweet by the Donald is a reaction to the breaking story in which some churches in Texas are suing FEMA. The Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty is representing Harvest Family, Rockport First Assembly of God, and the Hi-Way Tabernacle. Here’s the statement that the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty put out. Here’s an excerpt from the statement: “FEMA’s policy violates the Constitution, as the Supreme Court recently ruled 7-2 in Trinity Lutheran protecting the right of religious organizations to participate in generally available programs on equal footing with secular organizations. Becket has filed a lawsuit in Houston federal court against FEMA on behalf of Harvest Family Church, Hi-Way Tabernacle, and Rockport First Assembly of God arguing that these churches have the same right to apply for disaster relief grants as other nonprofit organizations.”

The churches and the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty are going to try to use the recent Trinity Lutheran ruling to gain funds for disaster relief. If you remember, the main point of the Trinity Lutheran ruling was that the playground served as a secular purpose. Actual buildings used for religious worship can’t be given funds by FEMA. Their lawsuit makes unconstitutional demands and, no surprise, our president is backing them up. What is it with these organizations that have the words “Religious Liberty” tacked on? They clearly don’t want religious liberty, they want to advance religious privilege, especially the Christian kind. Where’s the mosques in this lawsuit? Surely, the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty can drum up at least one mosque to add to the list of plaintiffs. Right?

Read Trump’s tweet carefully. Churches should be reimbursed for helping victims. Churches shouldn’t be volunteering to help people while expecting a payout by the federal government. Right? Churches don’t pay any taxes nor do they have to report on tax form 990, the detailed report on revenue and functional expenses. I thought disasters were “the will of God?” Why didn’t the prayers work? Churches should purchase flood insurance like everyone else and they shouldn’t receive federal money without paying a cent in taxes. This lawsuit shouldn’t go through but I don’t know anymore in the Age of Trump. Anything is possible now.

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“When a religion is good, I conceive that it will support itself; and, when it cannot support itself, and God does not take care to support, so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”–Benjamin Franklin, October 7, 1780.

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