Hurricane Sandy has been a disaster not only for the people who have lost their homes and jobs, but also for the rule of law. We’ve seen this in how Governor Christie has bypassed environmental regulations and ethical contracting in his quest for re-election.
Now, New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith has joined that cadre of Sandy opportunists. He has introduced a bill (H.R. 592) that would erode the wall of separation between Church and State and would provide FEMA assistance to houses of worship that have suffered storm damage.
One of the greatest things about America is the separation of church and state. In my opinion, the tax exemption for religious institutions is bad enough, and is often abused. But direct government aid to churches, synagogues, and mosques is just plain wrong. Insurance, tithing, and fundraising should be how these houses of worship are rebuilt.
H.R. 592 passed overwhelmingly in the House, with an evenly split vote in New Jersey’s Democratic caucus (vote tally is below the fold). The bill now in the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee
No doubt, if it is enacted into law, there will be expensive lawsuits challenging the bill’s constitutionality. And as Alfred Doblin of The Record points out, “I do not want my tax dollars to rebuild [the Westboro Baptist Church] if a tornado blows it away.”
If you believe that both church and state are strong because they are separate, call Senators Menendez and Lautenberg and urge them to vote against this government subsidy of religion if and when it reaches the Senate floor.