On Friday night, United State President Trump opened up about the dispute of church and state. He showed his support for the churches in Texas that faced extreme damage by Hurricane Harvey and demanded Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) assistance to repair or rebuild the churches.
President Donald Trump tweeted, “Churches in Texas should be entitled to reimbursement from FEMA Relief Funds for helping victims of Hurricane Harvey (just like others).”
Churches in Texas should be entitled to reimbursement from FEMA Relief Funds for helping victims of Hurricane Harvey (just like others).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2017
Three churches have filed a lawsuit in Texas which challenge FEMA’s policy. As per the present policy from FEMA, houses of worship does not come in disaster relief grants.
According to the lawsuit that filed on Monday, the Rockport First Assembly of God, the Hi-Way Tabernacle and the Harvest Family Church were damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Southern District of Texas.
The Hi-Way Tabernacle and the Harvest Family Church were flooded during Harvey while Assembly of God’s church van, roof and steeple had lost. The Hi-Way Tabernacle was served as a FEMA staging center that provided shelter for more than 70 people and also distributing up to 8,000 emergency meals.
According to the lawsuit, “The churches are not seeking special treatment; they are seeking a fair shake.” The lawsuit reads, “And they need to know now whether they have any hope of counting on FEMA or whether they will continue to be excluded entirely from these FEMA programs.”
The lawsuit asks court declare church exclusion policy from FEMA unconstitutional, the policy excludes churches from the disaster relief funds.
“If the Churches were to cease all religious activity in their houses of worship, those buildings would become assistance-eligible.”