The Secular Coalition Thanks the Senate for Upholding Church-State Separation
While the 111th Congress has only been in session for a month, the Secular Coalition for America and its allies won the first battle to protect church-state separation when an amendment by Religious Right favorite, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, was defeated yesterday.
On February 5th, the U.S. Senate voted down (43-54) an amendment that would have stripped important church-state constitutional protections in the economic stimulus package. DeMint's amendment would have allowed taxpayer funds to be used for construction and building rehabilitation for religious facilities at private religious institutions, including divinity schools.
"Yesterday's vote is a reminder that the Religious Right has no plans of giving up trying to use the federal government, and our tax dollars, to promote their religious beliefs," said Ron Millar, acting director of the Secular Coalition for America.
This is the first time the Senate has had a direct vote on a church-state issue of this nature in several years and the Secular Coalition is thrilled that 54 Senators opposed permitting federal funds to go towards religious schools and institutions. (To see how your Senators voted, go here)