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-- -- devastated hundreds of churches synagogues and mosques in New Jersey and New York.
Month after the devastation many are still struggling to recover and it appears it won't be getting any help from FEMA at least not for now.
Policy prohibits the agency from giving an outright grant because of concerns over separation of church and state but that has been -- written in previous cases.
Earlier this week I sat down with legal counsel for the Becket fund for religious liberty Daniel -- to talk about the fight to get funding for those devastated congregations.
You know this is an issue four primarily houses of worship right now they're not getting aid why aren't.
They getting the -- because FEMA has decided -- establishment clause gives them a license to discriminate against.
Churches synagogues mosques and the wrong they're just wrong I've been wrong for a long time.
It's about time we get that fixed.
Now there's an effort on the hill to close this issue up so that those the houses of worship can get the funding they need and they were devastated like many other places I mean.
Zoos museums other places we know we're getting finds a -- specifically there's any religious tie there seems to be a blockade there what's happening on the helped.
Well representative Chris Smith and represent grace -- cosponsor a bill in the house passed with overwhelming support they put her on the the Florida and five days it was two thirds of the house and have had agreed to supported and pass and went to senate.
Where has now been languishing for over a month.
Took a month just to get to a central committee and now it's been -- that committee for almost two weeks with nothing happening that we -- off.
And -- -- break currently.
As it stands so what you expect will happen has there been a public call for the -- take this up you try to bring more attention to -- what do you hoping.
We're trying to make sure that that senate understands this and understands very clearly the constitution is no impediment.
To passing this law in fact the constitution and courage is the -- to fix this problem that's been along -- been around for too long now.
Just about this in the past what has seen -- done with other large scale disasters and damage to houses of worship.
Well the -- time for the federal government provided support for churches that are -- need to prepare for instance the Old North Church in Boston.
The church the start of the the midnight ride of Paul Revere what -- you had indeed -- lanterns that one of -- land to a -- And also -- Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta where.
Martin Luther King Jr.
preached they all have all received funding.
To provide for the repair needs -- they have there.
And unfortunately famous tried to carve out exceptions here they say well.
We're going to allow community centers for instance to receive funding we won't allow churches which often act as community -- -- receive funding.
Simply because your religious -- the only -- we will -- you get in line to to have access to -- emergency relief in the -- it's been several -- how are these -- -- operating at this point.
Well temple Israel of Long Beach, New York.
Was hit by a fourteen foot storm surge.
And the All Saints church which was built in the eighteen hundreds.
By ship owners now as a sinkhole for sanctuary.
And they're having -- to scramble to repair in the midst of devastation -- these entire communities so of course things are very difficult.
Small -- think that a lot of these these houses of worship are actually serving.
As a place where they wanna be serving others people who are still recovering from -- for a lot of folks it is the gathering place in their community and if they can't be there.
To help others on the can't hold services.
How are they fearing are they having fund raisers are they trying other ways to try to -- -- the house is back together.
They are they're doing a lot of things try to put the houses that together and what FEMA says to them is.
Go get your private insurance go raise -- -- how to bake sale don't come to us don't talk to us in Seattle over 200 churches have been affected by this.
For the federal government saying we're gonna discriminate against you simply because your religious that's wrong that's unconstitutional stop -- to ultimately prevail.
I do I think the American people are behind this I think the constitution is behind us and that's received broadening and widespread bipartisan support both in the senate.
And that and as I mentioned earlier in the house so yes I think this will be successful and it certainly should -- As they return back to work we'll keep an eye on the senators and see what they do with this send out please keep updated thank you -- I will think you.
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