Update: Federal Funds to Refurbish Religious Buildings

January 24, 2003

Source: The Associated Press


On January 24, 2003 The Associated Press reported that "the Bush administration wants to give religious organizations access to federal housing money that could be used to erect or refurbish buildings where religious activities are held, so long as the groups also provide social services in those buildings... Critics say the proposal, part of an array of 'faith-based' initiatives pushed by President Bush during the past two years, comes perilously close to crossing the constitutional divide between church and state and may foster discrimination by religious groups against people of other faiths... 'This is destroying the notion that government and religion should remain separate,' Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said yesterday... But federal housing officials say the proposal would eliminate bias against religious groups that offer social services like homeless shelters and soup kitchens. 'We are just leveling the playing field. This is part of an overall effort to end discrimination against faith-based organizations,' said Housing and Urban Development Department spokeswoman Diane Tomb."