This week three Texas churches that suffered significant damage from Hurricane Harvey filed suit against FEMA, challenging its policy that precludes houses of worship from receiving federal disaster assistance aid. The complaint (full text) in Harvest Family Church v. Federal Emergency Management Agency, (SD TX, filed 9/4/2017), relies particularly on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Trinity Lutheran Church decision in claiming that FEMA’s policy unconstitutionally discriminates against churches solely because of their religious status.  Plaintiffs contend:Were the Churches not religious, their prohibited “worship” services would instead be eligible as “social activities to pursue items of mutual interest”; the impermissible “religious instruction” during religious services would be permissible as “educational enrichment activity”; children’s church and women’s Bible study groups would qualify as a “service or activity intended to serve a specific group of individuals”; and meetings between the clergy and other church leaders would be a “community board meeting.”Becket issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.

Source: http://bppro.link/?c=TpB

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