Americans United has sent a letter to the Attorney General and several cabinet officers detailing a series of earmarks passed by Congress and signed into law by the president as part of larger appropriations bills that may violate the establishment clause. Among the earmarks they are challenging:
A $47,000 Justice Department grant to several Teen Challenge, Albany, N.Y., programs, including one called “Rock the Block.” That program, according to Teen Challenge, is intended to bring “the life-changing message of salvation through Jesus Christ to the city streets.” Teen Challenge’s Web site notes that this program includes religious activities, such as altar calls and distribution of Bibles and “salvation cards.”
And this one:
A $595,000 HUD grant to a World Impact program in Kansas. The grant is aimed at renovating the facilities of the group’s Morning Star Ranch in Florence. According to World Impact’s Web site, Morning Star Ranch is a “training center for inner-city young men ages 18-25.” The training program at the ranch is called “Christian Leadership Training,” and includes “Bible studies and devotions.” Moreover, the ranch runs children’s camps that include “relationship building, evangelism, spiritual growth, and wholesome fun.”
Unfortunately, with the Supreme Court having limited taxpayer standing to be all but non-existent, challenging those things in court will be difficult.