Those living in areas ravaged by Hurricane Harvey are just beginning to rebuild their lives and clean up, and those in the path of Hurricane Irma are just trying to comprehend its devastation. We at Americans United continue to be concerned about everyone recovering from or in the midst of these historic storms and have reached out to many of our members and supporters in these areas to let them know we are thinking of them.
It looks like the battle over taxpayer aid to religion is about to heat up in Congress again.
When Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast last October, among its casualties was Bethany Congregational Church in East Rockaway, N.Y. Although the Rev. Mark Lukens’ church sustained some damage, he doesn’t want a government handout to repair it.
If the Rev. Fred Phelps’ hate-mongering Westboro Baptist Church gets swept away in a tornado, should the taxpayers be responsible for rebuilding it?
Some folks in Congress seem to think so. The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted overwhelmingly to require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to pay for reconstruction and repair of houses of worship damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013 (H.R. 592) passed 354-72.
Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal contained an opinion piece by Avi Schick, an attorney in private practice in New York. Schick demands taxpayer aid to pay for houses of worship damaged by Hurricane Sandy and implies that this is just a commonsense thing to do.
I was born and raised on the Jersey shore. My parents are still making repairs to their house, which sustained damage in Sandy’s wake. Believe me, I understand that this is serious business.