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September 27, 2005

FEMA to reimburse religious groups

From the Washington Post...

After weeks of prodding by Republican lawmakers and the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said yesterday that it will use taxpayer money to reimburse churches and other religious organizations that have opened their doors to provide shelter, food and supplies to survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

FEMA officials said it would mark the first time that the government has made large-scale payments to religious groups for helping to cope with a domestic natural disaster.

"I believe it's appropriate for the federal government to assist the faith community because of the scale and scope of the effort and how long it's lasting," said Joe Becker, senior vice president for preparedness and response with the Red Cross.

Civil liberties groups called the decision a violation of the traditional boundary between church and state, accusing FEMA of trying to restore its battered reputation by playing to religious conservatives.

And we all saw how visible those “civil liberties” groups were in helping the victims of Katrina and Rita.

First of all, I seriously doubt any of these groups did it in order to get reimbursed (as most non-religious groups do). Second, if that's the purpose of the tax money, then why the heck shouldn't they get reimbursed. But...third...the religious groups should be very leery of government money, because more often than not there are rather unpleasant strings attached.

In the end, it has never been the government's job to forcibly take money from one group in order to hand it over to another. Those religious groups are doing what people of faith have always done, and would do much more efficiently if the government didn't interfere, as well as cripple them financially with confiscatory taxes on those who more likely than not would donate to the organizations.

Posted by Danny Carlton at September 27, 2005 05:34 AM

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Posted by: Don Singleton at September 27, 2005 12:11 PM

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