FFRF’s Faith Works Victory Final (October 2, 2019)

In a surprise development, the State of Wisconsin did not appeal the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s landmark legal victory declaring direct public funding of “faith-based” social services unconstitutional.

“Our legal win sets a firm precedent against Pres. Bush’s push to expand so-called ‘charitable choice,’ ” said Foundation President Anne Gaylor.

In a January 7 ruling, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb of the Western District of Wisconsin declared unconstitutional the grant of $850,000 in unrestricted public funds to Faith Works, a Christian treatment program in Milwaukee for male drug abusers.

The Foundation’s lawsuit resulted in the first legal victory in the nation against “faith-based” funding by government. Congress adopted guidelines in 1996 permitting some federal programs to fund churches and “faith-based” groups without requiring them to create a secular arm, remove religious symbols or stop proselytizing.

In a follow-up July 26 ruling, Crabb decided against the Foundation’s separate challenge of indirect public funding of Faith Works through state contracts.

The Foundation is appealing that decision to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Freedom From Religion Foundation