Bogus Stimulus Outcry Grows as Liberty Counsel and TVC Hop on the Bandwagon

It looks like the ACLJ’s entirely bogus attack on the stimulus bill is making its way around the right-wing hemisphere – in addition to Sen. Jim DeMint, the “drop the anti-Christian provision” call has now been taken up by the Liberty Counsel:

The highly controversial "stimulus" package is a monolithic spending bill containing language designed to stimulate the narrow interests of extreme left-wing activist organizations. The latest political payback tucked away in the estimated 1.1 trillion dollar spending bill will prove stimulating to religious censors and anti-faith groups like the ACLU.

Both the House and Senate versions contain anti-faith language that will censor religion and force people of faith from the public square … President Obama supports the package, but he could still request that Sen. Reid and Speaker Pelosi stop this blatant attack on people of faith.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: "The so-called stimulus bill will lead to the banning of all religious activity from all public facilities by forbidding the use of funds to improve any facility where religious instruction or worship occurs. In order to receive stimulus money our public schools will have to expel after-school Bible clubs and weekend religious meetings. People who want to speak about their faith will be unwelcome in public places. Apparently, President Obama's idea of faith-based initiatives is to remove faith from all initiatives."

The Traditional Values Coalition has also come out against the provision, citing the same bogus reasons:

Among the prohibited uses of “greening” funds is the “modernization, renovation or repair” of higher learning facilities where sectarian religious activities or services may be conducted. “The economic crisis is being used as a pretext to curb religious liberty at institutions of higher learning.  Religious activity is already scarce at most of our colleges, the Obama people want to make sure it is extinct.

The ultimate impact will be to drive religious activities out of public education altogether. If higher education institutions worry about not getting part of this federal grab bag, they’ll simply eject religious activities from their campuses so they can easily get the money.

By rejecting religion, these educators can also avoid costly ACLU lawsuits that will inevitably be filed. This section of the bill should be called the ACLU Full Employment Act since it will be a boon for their anti-Christian litigation.

Interesting, isn’t it, how the ACLJ’s false initial claim that religious groups would be barred from using university facilities under this provision has now expanded into a warning that Bible clubs would be expelled entirely and “all religious activity [at] all public facilities” would be forbidden.

It was a lie when the ACLJ said it, and it's even more of a lie now that Liberty Counsel and TVC are piling on with their own misrepresentations. 

It’s like watching a game of Telephone gone horribly awry as one right-wing group unleashes an absurd fabrication and then other right-wing groups pick it up and mangle it further. 

And now this "controversy" has worked its way up to Fox News:

Democrats in Congress have declared war on prayer, say conservative groups who object to a provision in the stimulus bill that was passed by the House of Representatives last week.

The upside of this, at least, is that it affords those who actually know what they are talking about the opportunity to point out that the right-wing outcry is fundamentally ridiculous:

The American Civil Liberties Union also defends the constitutionality of the restriction, which they say has been the law since 1972.

"It's almost a restatement of what the Constitution requires so there's nothing novel in what the House did in its restriction," said Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel to the ACLU. "For 37 years, the law of the land is that the government can't pay for buildings that are used for religious purposes."