Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.
Last week the House of Representatives approved, by a vote of 354 to 72, a bill that would specifically permit the use of federal money to rebuild synagogues, churches and mosques damaged by Superstorm Sandy. In October Congress allocated $60 billion, part of which was designed to finance recovery efforts of non-profit institutions. However, the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) has routinely denied the applications of houses of worship for disaster relief on the ground that the First Amendment forbids the use of public funds for religious purposes. So legislation was introduced to reverse this FEMA policy. The measure now goes to the Senate where the outcome is not yet clear.
The legislation provides that “a church, synagogue, mosque, temple or other house of worship, and a private non-profit facility operated by a religious organization” would be eligible for disaster aid “without regard to the religious character of the facility or the primary religious use of the facility.”
It would seem the legislation makes eminent common sense. Why exclude religious entities from general remedial programs available to not for profits generally? It is not as if religious institutions are being singled out for special largesse. If Congress decides that it is in the public interest to bring about large-scale restorations, such as roof and sidewall repair, by what logic can one exclude religious institutions that are in exactly the same position as non-religious entities? After all, religious institutions are entitled to, for example, police and fire protection just like their non-religious counterparts.
Indeed, if anything, we should be looking for ways to provide all similarly situated victims of natural disasters the means to rebuild and reenter society. Ironically, most religious institutions were in the forefront of providing early assistance to their battered neighbors.
We therefore find it troubling that Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who represents some of the devastated areas, not only voted against the remedial legislation but actually stood up in the House of Representatives and voiced his opposition: “Direct government funding of churches, synagogues, and mosques has always been held to be unconstitutional, and the decisions of the Supreme Court establishing that principle remain good law to this day.”
With all due respect, Mr. Nadler is mixing apples and oranges and offering a simplistic application of earlier Supreme Court decisions. This is certainly true in light of recent Supreme Court legitimization of special education programs for parochial school children and publicly funded vouchers redeemable at religious schools. More important, even he conceded that some scholars would disagree with his conclusions on constitutional imperatives.
We think it is the special responsibility of elected officials representing devastated areas to seek assistance for all constituents rather than discriminate against some of them.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t
There was a glaring void in the President’s State of the Union speech: Israel.
Let’s focus not on becoming an ATM for that little bundle of joy, but on what you can save in taxes.
Israel has some wild places left; places to reflect and think, to get lost, to try to find ourselves
The British government assured Anglo-Jewry that it is attacking the rising levels of anti-Semitism.
Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.
Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.
Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians
Confrontation & accountability, proven techniques, might also help dealing with religious terrorists
In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site
Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”
The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps
Plainly, there is no guiding hand dictating choices across the board.
In this particular case, the issue was whether the Arkansas prison system could prohibit, for security reasons, a devout Muslim’s maintaining a beard of a certain length as a matter of religious practice.
Despite the president’s respectable anti-terrorism record, he doubtless has little interest in being identified with anything that might suggest, however tangentially, criticism of Muslims or Islam.
One wonders what connection that rejection has with turning to the ICC, which would allow the Palestinians to bring war-crime charges against individual Israelis and is certainly one more step away from seeking a negotiated settlement.
In the NPR interview, Mr. Obama said Iran could become a “very successful regional power” if it agreed to a long-term nuclear deal.
Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.
Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/congressman-nadler-disappoints/2013/02/20/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: