Barack Obama was the first President to recognize unbelievers in his inaugural address. He is also advancing the secularization of America in his stimulus by prohibiting the use of federal funds in building projects that might touch on religion.
The Boy Scouts has been a target of the left for a while. Though non-denominational, it has a strong sectarian influence in its rules, teachings, and beliefs structure.
According to the Supreme Court, the Boy Scouts can deny employment to gays because of the private nature of the organization. Ever since that decision, the left has tried to shut the scouts out of public buildings. The Democrats in Congress have taken up the shut down the scouts.
In both the House and Senate version of the stimulus there is a provision that is tailor made for the ACLU to shut down more boy scout troops, divinity schools, etc.
As Jeff Poor notes
Both versions of the bill, the House version (H.R. 1) that passed on Jan. 28 by a 244-188 margin, without a single Republican vote, and the Senate version (S. 336), which will probably be voted on in the next few days – include language that would “prohibit” modernization, renovation, or repair of facilities:
- used for sectarian instruction, religious worship, or a school or department of divinity; or
- in which a substantial portion of the functions of the facilities are subsumed in a religious mission
Such language is regrettable and could leave some institutions of higher learning susceptible to a legal action by organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) according to a spokesman from South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint’s office. . . .
The bill includes $20 billion for school “modernization, renovation or repair of facilities” – with $14 billion for elementary and secondary schools and $6 billion for higher education, which includes the secular string attached.
What exactly is "a substantial portion"? If an organization lets the scouts meet in their facility, will they no longer be able to use government money to fix their building?
Will local school systems scared of losing funding shut down Christian student groups? Will schools that have religion departments shut down those departments lest they run afoul of the provisions?
In fact, the provision is so broad, it will very potentially have a chilling effect on all religious instruction and groups that have a religious affiliation. Never mind that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.