Atheist, secular groups trying to stop churches from receiving emergency relief from government

by Bryan Brammer · Apr 4th, 2020 10:32 am

Atheists and secular advocacy groups are trying to persuade the Small Business Administration (SBA) to exclude churches and religious organizations from receiving the benefits of the new coronavirus stimulus package.

In a letter sent Tuesday, American Atheists, a nonprofit group that advocates for the complete separation of church and state, asked SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza not to "set aside vital constitutional protections for religious freedom."

The nonprofit group contested that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prevents the government from funding any sort of religious organization or activity.

"Our historical understanding of religious liberty is built on the idea that government entanglement with religion can be a profound threat to individual rights, too often leading to religious oppression," the letter reads. "A core principle of religious liberty is that the coercive taxing power of the government cannot be used to force citizens to support a religion that is not their own."

The letter was also signed by the American Humanist Association, Center for Disability Rights, Center for Inquiry, Freedom From Religion Foundation, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Transgender Equality and Secular Coalition for America.


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