Illinois Rob Sherman Files Lawsuit Against Illinois Governor to Block Religious Grants April 9, 2010

Illinois Rob Sherman Files Lawsuit Against Illinois Governor to Block Religious Grants

Rob Sherman, the atheist from Chicago who has a long history of filing lawsuits supporting church/state separation, has outdone himself this time.

He filed a federal lawsuit (PDF) “to block $2.3 billion in Illinois grants from the $31 billion Capital Bill that was enacted into law last year.”

This is something he has been working on for a few months now.

As I’ve written about before, a lot of those Illinois grants are going to religious organizations.

Not just Christian ones, either (PDF):

Grants to houses of worship that are being challenged in this lawsuit include $150,000 for Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam Temple in Chicago. The Nation of Islam is best known for advocating the hatred of white people.

Grants to parochial schools that are being challenged include $500,000 for a new school building for Christ the King Jesuit College Prep (Roman Catholic high school) in Chicago. The sponsor of this grant of tax dollars, State Representative LaShawn Ford, is on the Board of Trustees of Christ the King College Prep.

Grants to religious ministries that are being challenged include $35,000 to the Hillel Foundation at Northwestern University, whose mission is “to inspire every Jewish student to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life.”

There’s also a $100,000 grant requested for the discriminatory Boy Scouts in Rockford — a group that openly excludes atheists and homosexuals.

According to Sherman, the most problematic grant (PDF) being requested is for $2,300,000,000… to Governor Pat Quinn… for “discretionary grants to unspecified providers.” In other words, “[t}he grant allows the Governor to essentially play Santa Claus and give the money to pretty much anybody or any organization that he wants.”

The first hearing about this case in court should occur in two weeks.

I want to know how state legislators defend their requests on behalf of these religious groups.

If they take a cue from State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), Sherman should have a slam-dunk case:

One of the organizations listed in the suit is the St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Newman Center, located on the campus of Illinois State University. The facility serves Catholic university students and is set to receive $200,000 in state funds. State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, who is running for governor, requested money for the project.

… Brady previously said it was appropriate to spend public money for the Newman Center project in Normal because it could behalf all students, not just Catholic students.

Right… because the Newman Center is where *all* the students go to just hang out…

These groups do not deserve taxpayer money, nor is it legal for them to receive it. I would hope the courts know this.

Sherman is a polarizing figure, no doubt, but in this case he has earned the support of anyone, religious or not, who believes in the separation of church and state.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • PrimeNumbers

    This level of fraud and corruption is disgusting.

  • Sue D. Nymme

    Wait, $2.3 billion of the $2.3 billion is for discretionary grants? 100%? Is there a typo somewhere?

  • Sue D. Nymme

    Oh wait, I see. $2.230 billion of the $2.289 billion is listed as discretionary. Wow. I wonder if there’s any accountability at all for that money.

  • Nougat

    @Sue D. Nymme – click the PDF link to the table of line items. The last one is:

    “2,230,000,000, Office of the Governor, Discretionary Grants to unpsecified providers”

    And then:

    “Total: 21 Items worth $2,288,907,000.”

    So maybe a little typo, but 97.4% of this grant money is discretionary to the Governor. It’s not wrong to say that virtually all of the grant money is going to we don’t know where.

  • Tucker

    This is unbelievable. My son is in a special needs kindergarten class in Naperville, Illinois, and with the district we’re in firing 145 teachers b/c of budget cuts, it’s outrageous to me that these organizations are getting money while children like my son have to suffer.

  • martin

    Yay, so what if all of these kids cannot get a proper education with the need to fire teachers due to loss in budgets, at least a church will have a roof!…

    I just can’t believe that someone can just go and get a grant without explaining what it will be used for.

  • Houndies

    the gov’t is taking tax payers hard earned money, and giving it churches who then turn around and ask for more of your hard earned money to propigate the lie of religion. pathetic.

  • CatBallou

    I’m just concerned that the Newman Center could “behalf all students.” I hope that’s not like beheading them.

    Yes, I am that picky. It’s Friday afternoon and I’m an editor.

  • muggle

    Man, I hope to hell he wins and wish I had the guts and means.

    I wonder if NY’s pulling any of this crap while the Governor robs the people refusing to pay state tax refunds and a negoiated state pay raise.

    Does it show that I’m fed up with working for the State of New York? I need to retire. Like yesterday. Unfortunately, I have up to three years to go.

    Lay me off, Gov. Please lay me off.

  • Jen

    I deeply resent public funds being given to religious organizations. I would like to thank Mr Sherman for taking this on, and I hope these alarming dollar figures attract the attention of national media. That money would be well-spent in the Illinois Public School system.

  • cypressgreen

    This is disgusting. I’m going to contribute to his cause.

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