Many people and institutions – including houses of worship – suffered great harm from Hurricane Harvey. But even in the most difficult of times, the longstanding principles of the First Amendment must not be abandoned.
Three Texas churches are suing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), demanding taxpayer aid to help them rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
The conservative legal group the Becket Fund on Sept. 4 filed a federal lawsuit, Harvest Family Church v. Federal Emergency Management Agency, on behalf of Rockport First Assembly of God, Harvest Family Church in Cypress and Hi-Way Tabernacle in Cleveland. The suit calls for federal aid to rebuild a church steeple and restore flooded church sanctuaries.
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.
The House of Representatives voted Feb. 13 to allow houses of worship to seek funding for repairs and reconstruction through a federal program designed to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
The storm caused massive damage to several East Coast states in late October. Many homes were destroyed, and Congress set to work on an aid package to help those in need.
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.
The National Cathedral is one my favorite monuments in Washington, D.C. It’s majestic, historic and architecturally interesting. Hey, you gotta love a church that has Darth Vader as one of its gargoyles!
But I don’t think the cathedral should get public funding.