February 9, 2009

What's their problem?

Making the rounds on Catholic/conservative blogs last week were outraged responses to the House-passed version of the stimulus bill that bans money from being spent on facilities that allow religious worship.

I'm a little late to the game, but what's their problem? Isn't one of this country's greatest strengths freedom of religion? To me, that includes being able to discuss my religion in public places. I'm not saying that the government should pay for new churches. But if students want to meet on campus for a prayer group meeting, bible study or Mass, then I don't see how that violates others' rights.

Some exerpts from the Fox.com article:

The provision bans money designated for school renovation from being spent on facilities that allow "religious worship." It has ignited a fury among critics who say it violates the First Amendment and is an attempt to prevent religious practice in schools.

According to the bill, which the Democratic-controlled House passed despite unanimous Republican opposition, funds are prohibited from being used for the "modernization, renovation, or repair" of facilities that allow "sectarian instruction, religious worship or a school or department of divinity."

Critics say that could include public schools that permit religious groups to meet on campus. The House provided $20 billion for the infrastructure improvements, of which $6 billion would go to higher education facilities where the limitations would be applied.

The American Civil Liberties Union also defends the constitutionality of the restriction, which they say has been the law since 1972.

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