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FEMA Denies Hurricane Sandy Aid to Churches

Did you know that in the wake of last year's devastating Superstorm Sandy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is funding the rebuilding of porn shops and sleazy nightclubs but not houses of worship?

A hard-hitting op-ed by Dr. Paul de Vries, author and president of the New York Divinity School, takes the government to task for allowing churches in Sandy-ravaged areas of the East Coast to remain boarded up while taxpayer money is being funneled into the rebuilding of beer halls, night clubs, adult stores and even a "witchy botanica business."

"Their floors are now repaired, their damaged wiring is replaced, their steps are renovated and their mold is safely removed – and all is paid for through generous government aid," de Vries writes. "The church buildings suffering the same damage are still 'disqualified' from these grants because churches lead people to God. Ironically, it was the God-centered churches who were the first to help others immediately after Superstorm Sandy –with generous physical, emotional and spiritual help many days or weeks before aid from any other sources, government or private. And it is the churches that are qualified to offer the continuing soul-care help still so deeply needed for months and years to come."

He adds: "What an awful nightmare, what a twisted reality, what a misguided government."

The only good news to report is that the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed - by a wide margin of 354-72 - the Federal Disaster Assistance Non-Profit Fairness bill which will correct the wrongs of this misguided policy, but it has yet to pass the Senate.

"In our free market society, I do not begrudge 'adult' bookstores, bars, sleazy nightclubs or botánica businesses from receiving aid – as long as there is such an aid program and if it were fairly administered," Dr. de Vries writes. "The biggest problem is the malignant exclusion of churches, synagogues, mosques and other house of worship (more generally, "churches") that makes the whole relief effort so grossly uneven and skewed."

The government is even extending aid to people and businesses that did not own federally subsidized flood insurance, and yet churches are given nothing.

"It is as if our government – 'one nation under God' – sees churches as dispensable, in the way of progress, a waste of good space, the only organizations unworthy to receive the aid dollars – those dollars that still say 'In God We Trust.' The present FEMA policy is so absurdly anti-church – it is as if the White House and the Senate thought that the United States would be better off if thousands of churches did not survive in the disaster areas."

Dr. de Vries reminds the government of the many biblical warnings against the worship of false gods, the kind of "worship" that occurs in rowdy beer halls, strip joints and coven-serving shops are houses of worship too.

"Tragically, present FEMA policy prefers giving support to these effectual "temples" of the perverted sexual and alcoholic ancient enemies of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jesus – and no aid to churches."

He adds: "May God help us! May we awaken the Senate and White House to mere FEMA equity."

Contact your Senator today and ask him or her to support Federal Disaster Assistance Non-Profit Fairness bill.

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