As reported by The Hill, President Trump on Friday weighed in on the battle between three Texas houses of worship and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on the matter of the churches’ eligibility to receive disaster relief money.
Communicating through Twitter (where else?), Trump said, “Churches in Texas should be entitled to reimbursement from FEMA Relief Funds for helping victims of Hurricane Harvey (just like others).”
Three churches - Harvest Family Church, the Hi-Way Tabernacle and the Rockport First Assembly of God – are suing FEMA in an effort to get the money. The lawsuit claims that the federal agency’s policy preventing religious groups from sharing in the funds is unconstitutional.
For his part, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) fired off a letter to FEMA Administrator Brock Long on Friday, suggesting that the “policy discriminates against people of faith. It sends the message that communities of worship aren’t welcome to participate fully in public life.... It reduces the facilities and volunteer time, talent, and effort available to support the broader community.”
Each of the churches suffered significant damage from the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Two were flooded, and a third had both its steeple and roof destroyed. Not only that, in a bit of irony, Hi-Way Tabernacle served as a FEMA staging area for Harvey.
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large