The House recently passed a climate change bill that includes a provision that would subsidize up to 50% of the cost for retrofitting energy systems of faith-based and other nonprofit groups.
After a spirited (pun intended) lobbying effort, a group of faith-based organizations has persuaded House movers and shakers to include benefits for religious organizations in the energy bill that passed last week.
At the last minute, at the behest of a coalition led by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, House leaders inserted a provision that would provide subsidies of up to one-half the cost of retrofitting energy systems of faith-based and other nonprofit groups. It's a testament to the lobbying clout of faith-based groups, although how far that influence will extend into other issues looming in Congress is an open question.
Lets put aside for a second that it is just plain wrong that US taxpayers could end up funding the energy saving upgrades for churches which would seem to be a clear violation of the First Amendment. The real irony of this vote by the House is the fact that we would be forced to pay for "greening up" the buildings for a group of citizens that include probably the largest percentage of global warming deniers there is. What a crock!
Fortunately the Senate version of the bill does not as of yet include this provision but as Americans United for the Separation of Church and State opines, "What is scary about all this is the continuing influence in Washington, D.C., of pressure groups that support public funding of religion."