Listed below are ongoing efforts of resistance to policies, laws and exceptions to laws that favor Christian hegemony in the United States. Check back regularly to see how you can take action.
No Public Money for Private Schools
American Atheists and many others are demanding that the US Senate refuse to accommodate Trump and DeVos’ efforts to funnel COVID emergency money into private schools and their corporate affiliates.1
After watching Education Secretary Betsy DeVos disregard congressional directives fund distribution from the last stimulus bill, writers of the House-passed HEROES bill were sure to include specific language preventing DeVos from allocating public school money to private schools. Under the CARES Act, Congress stipulated that money go to states most affected by COVID, but instead of following those guidelines, DeVos set up a competition for the funds. ((Sargrad, Scott. “Betsy DeVos’s Ideologically-Driven Coronavirus Response Will Hurt Public Schools.” Forbes. 15 May 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottsargrad/2020/05/15/betsy-devoss-ideologically-driven-coronavirus-response-will-hurt-public-school-students/#7f2dc324bd73)) Now she’s under fire for these actions and California, for one, sued DeVos back in July for funneling COVID money to school voucher programs.2
Trump is in full support of DeVos’s plan and has publicly assured private school communities that money will be coming their way soon. Trump is framing the heist as another way to support families affected by COVID-related unemployment, while using money that will certainly be needed to support at-risk families and school districts once schools begin to re-open. ((Chambers, Francesca. “Trump to Seek Funds for Private, Religious School Scholarships in COVID Recovery Bill.” McClatchyDC.com. 2 July 2020. https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article243956302.html)) In addition, conservatives now have a new tool in their toolbox. In June, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of state education money aiding a Catholic school in Espinoza vs Montana Department of Revenue.3
It is crucial that this chipping away of both the public school system (in which 90% of U.S. students are enrolled) and the church-state separation be stopped.4 We cannot let our nation’s children be robbed of their education for the benefit of a few wealthy Christian families
Act Now by signing this petition on the American Atheist website: Reject Private School Vouchers in the Next COVID-19 Stimulus Bill!
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is alarmed that the Small Business Administration will use the pandemic as an excuse to give a massive chunk of taxpayer funds to churches and other houses of worship.
As part of the federal government’s stimulus efforts to fight the coronavirus scourge and to protect American businesses, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is about to enact emergency regulations to determine which organizations will receive federal aid. Please tell the head of the SBA that you expect the constitutional separation between church and state to be followed, even in times of national emergencies, and that you do not want your tax dollars to be used, unconstitutionally, to aid churches or religion.
FFRF and other secular organizations have sent a letter to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza, expressing our concerns. We’ve asked SBA to follow its ordinary procedures by prohibiting any grants that would go to churches or houses of worship. Read this letter here. LINK
Please take a moment to file a formal comment about SBA’s emergency regulations. You can use the suggested talking points below, or write your own. Personalized, concise messages are the most effective.
For talking points, mailing address and other details, go to this Freedom From Religion Foundation page.
Congress Must Include Constitutional Protections in Paycheck Protection Program
Oppose Religious Exemptions To Restrictions on Large Gatherings
State governments are on the front lines in taking action to prevent the spread of potentially deadly coronavirus. While many states have wisely restricted large gatherings, already twelve states [at the time of this posting] have made religious exemptions for places of worship, which will further spread this disease and harm public health. Please ask your governor to protect public health by ensuring that there are no special exemptions for houses of worship!
Take action here.
Oppose HUD Proposal to Weaponize “Religious Liberty”
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is considering changes to the rules governing how it works with religious organizations. Under the guise of protecting “religious liberty,” this proposal would allow faith-based groups to receive federal funding for various housing programs without complying with nondiscrimination laws.
If this rule is implemented, it will mandate taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religious belief. For example, faith-based organizations receiving taxpayer funds through HUD would be allowed to turn away people in need because of a group’s religious objection to a person’s sexual orientation or single parenthood. By funding discrimination in the name of God, the government will be funding religion. The proposed rule also removes protections for HUD beneficiaries who are among society’s most vulnerable: the homeless, the disabled, the low-income elderly. Currently, those who participate in HUD programs can count on their government-funded provider to alert them of any religious affiliation and, if someone objects to receiving a government benefit from a religious organization, this organization must help to find an alternative provider. HUD is trying to remove both of these protections without even attempting to give a justification.
FFRF submitted its own comment opposing this rule today [April 7, 2020], which you can review here….
…All comments are due by Monday, April 13! The Trump administration released a rush of these rules at one time hoping to overwhelm us into inaction. It doesn’t want you to comment in opposition, but we do. We must heed every opportunity to hold this theocratic administration accountable for degrading state/church separation.
Take action here.
- “Oppose DeVos’s Plan to Use the Pandemic to Enrich Religious Schools!” American Atheists. 9 July 2020. https://www.atheists.org/2020/07/devos-school-vouchers-heroes-act/
- Fensterwald, John. “California Sues Betsy DeVos Over Rule Steering Coronavirus Aid to Private Schools.” EdSource. 8 July 2020. https://edsource.org/2020/california-sues-betsy-devos-over-rule-steering-coronavirus-aid-to-private-schools/635476
- Espinoza vs Montana Department of Revenue. Supreme Court Opinion. June 30, 2020. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/18-1195_g314.pdf
- Enrollment in elementary, secondary and degree granting post-secondary institutions…” National Center for Education Statistics. 2018. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d18/tables/dt18_105.20.asp?current=yes