ACTION ALERT: Keep faith-based funding out of the economic stimulus package

UPDATE: The economic stimulus conference report that is expected to be signed by President Obama does not include funding for the Compassion Capital Fund. Congratulations and thanks to all those who took action!

The Compassion Capital Fund was a key component of George W. Bush’s controversial faith-based funding program and received the first federal dollars from his White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives back in 2002. The Compassion Capital Fund funnels federal tax dollars to faith-based organizations to expand their capacity to provide social services.

Now, the House of Representatives has slipped a whopping $100 million for this fund into its just passed version of the stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The Secular Coalition urges you to contact your Senators and ask them to exclude any faith-based funding from their version of the stimulus package.

This Compassion Capital Fund has been singled out by watchdog groups for its failure to account for the dollars it sends to community organizations and its inability to ensure that religious groups receiving tax dollars are not breaching the constitutional separation of church and state: the Fund cannot demonstrate that American tax dollars are not used for proselytizing, and are not being used by organizations that discriminate based on religion in hiring.

Although the Senate version of the bill to be taken up next week currently contains no money for this discredited fund, elements of the House bill are certain to make their way into the final legislation during negotiations.

Take action now! The Religious Right is lobbying hard for this back door funding, and it’s time for us to fight back. 

It is imperative that you send a strong message to your Senators today asking them to take a stand now and in the future against funding a highly criticized program that violates the separation of church and state.

Below is the text the Secular Coalition provided:

Please maintain the integrity of the economic recovery package by not appropriating money for religious organizations in this bill. 

While the House voted to appropriate 100 million dollars to the Compassion Capital Fund, the Senate has so far decided not to allocate money to this program. Until President Obama makes changes to the faith-based initiatives program, groups that receive money from the Compassion Capital Fund can discriminate on the basis of religion when it comes to hiring. In particular, the Compassion Capital Fund has been scrutinized by watchdog groups for its failure to adequately report on how money that it directs to Houses of Worship is being spent.

As your constituent and a supporter of nontheistic Americans I urge you to vote against any floor amendments to add funding for the Compassion Capital Fund to the economic stimulus bill. If you are involved in any conferencing between the House and Senate bills, please fight to keep faith-based funding out of the final economic stimulus package.

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