The way religious conservatives see it the scorecard reads like this:
Religious Discrimination Supporters: 1
Religious Conservatives: 0
Why? Senator Jim DeMint’s amendment to strip out what he considered religious discrimination language in the stimulus bill was rejected by a 54-43 vote. That means it stays in the stimulus bill.
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The Traditional Values Coalition just issued this statement:
“Democrats showed their anti-Christian bias by rejecting South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint’s amendment that would have protected religious freedom in colleges and universities receiving federal funds,” said Traditional Values Coalition Executive Director, Andrea Lafferty today. “DeMint’s amendment simply struck the anti-Christian discrimination section from the bill.
The so-called stimulus package contained a section that forbids federal tax dollars from being used to modernize or repair any educational facility that permits religious services on its premises.
It discriminates not only against Christian schools by forbidding funds, but targets secular schools as well – including universities with divinity schools. This bill shuts off secular colleges from permitting religious services on campus if they receive any federal money from this stimulus bill.
“This is just the beginning of aggressive anti-Christian bigotry that we will see over the next four years,” said Lafferty. “We suffered a significant defeat to our First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom and free speech today.”
Folks over at People for the American Way think Traditional Values Coalition has it all wrong. Read more here and an excerpt is below:
…what the legislation actually says is that funding from the legislation can be used by universities to upgrade or repair facilities that are used for student housing or instruction but can't be used for facilities that are primarily used for college sports or religion or to build new facilities. In short, the legislation stipulates that if a facility's use is primarily religious, then stimulus funds can't be used to modernize, renovate, or repair it – nowhere does it state anything that could be interpreted as barring students from using university facilities to host things like a Bible study.
What say you? Read the amendment here