Americans United files first suit challenging a U.S. faith-based grant

Question government money spent for religious purposes
A national watchdog group has filed its first lawsuit to halt a federal government faith-based grant—in this case, to a Washington state program that offers Bible-based marriage workshops.

According to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, based in Washington, D.C., the government violated the Constitution when it awarded the “fundamentalist Christian” Northwest Marriage Institute two federal grants worth $97,750 last year.

Barry Lynn, who heads Americans United, said its lawsuit filed September 13 could have “important national implications because the Bush administration is promoting massive federal funding for marriage programs.”

This is Americans United’s first lawsuit over federal funding, said spokesperson Joe Conn. The group is involved in three other lawsuits over state funding. In June a federal judge ruled in favor of Americans United against a state-funded prison ministry program in Iowa.


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