Stimulus Provision 'Discriminatory'

Conservatives say a provision in President Obama's economic stimulus plan could block Christian college students from using campus facilities.

According to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), "a discriminatory provision" exists in Obama's plan that prohibits federal funds from going to religiously affiliated schools post-secondary schools, such as divinity schools.

ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said the provision also denies student-led Bible study groups from accessing facilities on secular campuses if the university renovated or repaired the facility using stimulus money.

"The ramifications for this are really, really broad and very troubling," Sekulow told Charisma. "This targets, specifically, religious worship; which is incredible."

Sekulow said he would challenge the provision in court if necessary. He had hoped an amendment proposed by Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina to remove the controversial provision would have passed this week. But the effort failed on Thursday.

DeMint said in a statement on Thursday that Senate Democrats should be "ashamed of themselves" for siding with "the ACLU over millions of students of faith."

"I'm outraged Democrats are using an economic stimulus bill to promote discimination," he said.

Obama has said he wants his $900 billion-plus stimulus plan pushed through Congress by Feb. 16, telling lawmakers the nation's economic problems warrant quick action.

The plan was approved in the House last week and is still being debated in the Senate this week. Former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain told CBS News on Wednesday that Obama's stimulus plan, in its current form, would harm the economy and not help it.

Curtis Cole, administrative director for Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, an Assemblies of God-sponsored group located on secular campuses worldwide, said that denying students access to publicly funded campus buildings is a message Obama and Congress should "rethink immediately."

"To restrict any student or student organization from gaining access to a campus building for spiritual or religious expression is an outrageous violation of an individual's First Amendment Rights," Cole told Charisma. "Numerous Supreme Court cases have affirmed equal access, and even funding, for all students and student organizations on the college and university campus, regardless of religious or political viewpoint."

The only way universities are eligible to receive Obama's stimulus funds is if Bible clubs and weekend religious meetings are expelled, according to Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law.

"People who want to speak about their faith will be unwelcome in public places," Staver said. "Apparently, President Obama's idea of faith-based initiatives is to remove faith from all initiatives."

Lou Sheldon, founder of the Traditional Values Coalition, said the ultimate impact of the provision would be to drive religious activities completely out of public education. "If higher education institutions worry about not getting part of this federal grab bag, they'll simply eject religious activities from their campuses so they can easily get the money," he said.


To contact us or to submit an article, click here.


Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.

Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!

  • Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
  • Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
  • God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
  • Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
  • HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!

Subscription Special: Subscribe to Charisma for Only $24.97 and get a free gift. With your subscription, you'll receive Born For Significance by best-selling author Bill Johnson. View Offer

Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details

Charisma News - Informing believers with news from a Spirit-filled perspective