Earlier this year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the Sussex County Council in Delaware over a $10,000 grant they gave to Delmarva Teen Challenge, an organization that “helps” people overcome drug addictions by converting them to Christianity.
Sussex officials responded by saying they would take FFRF’s concerns about church/state separation into consideration when making future grants.
But in late June, they issued even more grants to even more Christian organizations.
FFRF attorney Ryan Jayne explained in another letter to the council:
On June 21, the council voted unanimously to award $2,500 from Councilman Samuel Wilson’s discretionary grant account to Grace-N-Mercy Ministries, a Christian church in Greenwood, “for youth camp expenses.” In its grant application, the ministry stated that the grant would be utilized for expanding its summer youth camp, which “combines the social recreation and team building activities of a traditional summer camp with the faith-based principles of a vacation bible school.”
On June 28, the council decided to give $2,000 to yet another summer bible camp, Nanticoke Young Life. The group’s website makes clear that its primary goal is to convert kids to Christianity. The County Council again awarded the money without discussing whether it was proper to force Sussex County taxpayers to fund a sectarian religious event.
There’s absolutely no secular purpose to these grants. This is taxpayer money going directly to Christian ministries in order to promote that particular faith. It’s illegal no matter how they want to rationalize it.
If they don’t put a stop to this, they could very likely be hit with a lawsuit that would waste even more taxpayer money when they lose. It’s completely irresponsible, but that’s what happens when you elect ignorant people to positions of power.
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