FFRF Wins Montana Faith-based Challenge (October 26, 2004)

The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a federal lawsuit in April 2003 challenging the funding and merger of two Montana state offices with the “Montana Faith-Health Cooperative.”

The Foundation and three Montana Foundation members are suing the Montana Office of Rural Health, its executive director David M. Young, the Montana State University-Bozeman, and the Montana Faith-Health Cooperative. The “faith-health cooperative” is in the same office as the Montana Office of Rural Health and the Montana State University-Bozeman.

Young, who is on the steering committee of the “faith-health cooperative,” shares management of the cooperative with the Executive Director of the Montana Association of Churches.

State and federal taxpayers are subsidizing the activities of the faith-health cooperative, the lawsuit charges. The Montana Office of Rural Health, as part of the Montana State University-Bozeman educational website, hosts, copyrights and owns the cooperative’s website. “The mission of the Montana Faith-Health Cooperative is to foster and promote holistic health care, including an emphasis on the spiritual aspect of human beings,” the Foundation complaint charges, promoting “the importance and power of faith as part of public health care initiatives.” The case is Freedom From Religion Foundation et. al. v. Montana Office of Rural Health (CV-03-30-BU-RWA). FFRF won the lawsuit in October 2004.

Freedom From Religion Foundation