The Freedom from Religion Foundation claims that faith-based initiative violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which says that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion.” At issue on February 28 is the plaintiffs’ standing to bring the case and whether they have the right as taxpayers to challenge the White House’s faith-based office.
The Foundation and its three taxpayer plaintiffs—Dan Barker, Annie Laurie Gaylor, and Anne Nicol Gaylor—filed suit in 2004, challenging the faith-based office at the White House and at several Cabinets. A federal judge dismissed the challenge, saying that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue over something the executive office did with general appropriations, if Congress had not designated those actions.
In 2006 the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the lawsuit, ruling that it is a violation of the Establishment Clause when tax money raised by Congress, which is passed on to executive officials, is used to support religion. The Bush Administration appealed the Foundation’s victory to the Supreme Court.
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Labels: faith-based initiatives