Federal Court Stops Govt. Funding for Christian Rehab Center

January 10, 2002

Source: The New York Times

On January 10, 2002, The New York Times reported that "in a case widely seen as the first legal challenge to the constitutionality of President Bush's religion-based initiative, a federal court in Wisconsin has ordered the state to stop giving money to a drug and alcohol addiction program that relied heavily on Christian spirituality in its approach to treatment... Faith Works has received nearly $1 million from Wisconsin, much of it during the tenure of [former] Gov. Tommy G. Thompson... In a decision made public late Tuesday, Judge Barbara B. Crabb of Federal District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin ruled that giving 'unrestricted, direct state funding' to Faith Works amounted to government-sponsored religious coercion... Faith Works had contended that the government grants had been used only for the nonreligious aspects of the program, and that counselors spent no more than 20 percent of their time discussing spirituality with the clients... The case was brought by the Freedom from Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis."