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Judge Denies FEMA Relief For Three Texas Churches

The Stafford Act allows the President to provide federal assistance for natural disasters. However, the act excludes religious facilities

A federal judge is upholding a rule that prevents Federal Emergency Management Agency from providing funds to churches. Following Hurricane Harvey three south Texas churches filed an injunction. They wanted funds while they argued their case against FEMA in federal court.

The Stafford Act allows the President to provide federal assistance for natural disasters. However, the act excludes religious facilities. The churches are suing FEMA claiming the rule violates their First Amendment rights. A federal judge has NOW denied immediate funding before their case plays out in court.

In a statement, one of the plaintiffs attorneys compared the decision to the Grinch who stole Christmas. 

“FEMA is turning into the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. By continuing to discriminate against churches, FEMA is sending the message that churches are not full members of the community, even when they are in fact the beating heart of disaster recovery in Texas and elsewhere. We will appeal today’s ruling in favor of FEMA to the Fifth Circuit,” said Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Council with Becket. The Washington D.C. firm, “defends religious liberty for all – in principal and in practice.”

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