Senate Keeps Anti-Religious Wording in Bill

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The Senate has rejected an attempt to strip language out of the economic stimulus bill that would prevent colleges and universities from using the federal funding for religious purposes.

As CBN News first reported Wednesday, the little-noticed provision would prevent schools from making upgrades to facilities used for religious instruction or worship with the stimulus money.

 For more on this, click here to hear from Dan Gainor of the Business & Media Institute, as seen on CBN Newswatch before the Senate vote Thursday.

Sen. Jim DeMint called the clause "an attack on people of faith."  In response, the South Carolina Republican put forth an alternate provision for vote that would have invalidated the anti-religious language.

But the senators rejected the amendment, 54-to-43, leaving the language in the bill as is.

Jay Sekulow, with the American Center for Law and Justice vowed to challenge the provision in court.

"This is a very disappointing development," Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, said. "What is most troubling is the fact that a majority of the Senate supports a discriminatory provision that prohibits religious activity from taking place in college and university facilities nationwide that take federal stimulus funds."

"If this language remains in the stimulus package that is ultimately approved by Congress, we will challenge this provision in federal court by filing suit," he said. "This provision has nothing to do with economic stimulus and everything to do with religious discrimination.

Sen. DeMint told CBN News that he put forth the alternate measure for so Americans could "see how senators vote" on it. 

"We're going to make it an issue. What we don't want to happen is for them to continue to be able to pass things secretly that undermine the faith heritage of this country," DeMint said hours before the measure failed to pass.

The anti-religious language is currently included in the Senate version of the bill and is included in the House version that passed last week.

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