Action Alert

Tell Gov. Wolf to veto $7 million headed for Baptist coffers

Gov. Tom Wolf will soon consider a state budget that includes a huge handout to two churches. Fortunately, Wolf has the power to veto this misappropriation of taxpayer funds without vetoing the entire budget. We need lots of voices to make sure the governor sees this problem and fixes it.

Wolf could sign this budget momentarily, so please take a moment to help us protect your rights and those of other Pennsylvania taxpayers by contacting the governor today. You can use our suggested talking points below, or create your own.

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The Pennsylvania budget includes a $2 million allocation to Grace Baptist Church of Germantown, and another $5 million to Bible Way Baptist Church in West Philadelphia.

Although the $2 million in taxpayer funds for Grace Baptist Church are for a harmless-sounding “Community Center,” the church actually describes that “Christian center” as a “ministry” that regularly hosts bible studies among other programming. Public money will fund a ministry within a ministry.

Bible Way Church’s overtly religious “vision” is to use the church to “transfor[m] the Carroll and Cathedral Park Communities of West Philadelphia into Christian Communities.” Bible Way’s “purpose” is to “prepar[e] disciples to make an impact for the Kingdom of God everywhere! Matthew 28:19–20.”

The Pennsylvania Constitution guarantees that no one can “be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent.”

With customary wit, Benjamin Franklin explained that government support of religion reflects poorly on the churches: “When a Religion is good, I conceive that it will support itself; and when it cannot support itself, and God does not take care to support, so that its Professors are obliged to call for the help of the Civil Power, ’tis a Sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”

Let the faithful voluntarily support their churches if they so choose. To involve the state in such personal decisions violates the religious liberty of all. Please help FFRF defend this bedrock American principle.

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