Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Christianity Today: DeMint's amendment would have been anti-religious!

Writing for Christianity Today, Tobin Grant says Mike Huckabee, Jim DeMint and others who claimed the stimulus was "anti-religious" were wrong, and thank the Lord their amendment failed.

For advocates of religious higher education, it is likely best that the amendment failed. Here's why: With the [current] restrictions, religious colleges and universities are able to qualify for the same type of funding as public and secular schools do. Without them, such funding would likely be considered unconstitutional.

.... Funding of higher education is, in some sense, our largest faith-based initiative. And like other faith-based initiatives, what allows the government to support education at religious colleges and universities is the necessary caveat that the federal funding be used for religiously neutral purposes. Far from being "anti-religious," the restrictions in the stimulus bill are the same old prohibitions that have allowed the federal government to help religious colleges and universities educate students for the past 40 years.

The bold is based on a Supreme Court case Tilton v Richardson which said grants could support "religiously neutral" facilities (e.g. rec halls, libraries) because those facilities were promoting education; not religion. Only explicitly religious buildings such as chapels could not receive the funding.

This is working. Thank God DeMint didn't win.