The Freedom From Religion Foundation is raising the alarm about a Christian foster farm in Alabama.
FFRF has been informed that “Freedom Farm,” a Christian foster care community, has been seeking taxpayer funds to fulfill its Christian mission and construct a new compound, which includes a chapel. The founder of Freedom Farm has explained:
“This idea was something that God laid on my heart maybe 25 or 30 years ago… There’s ability and availability. I’m a surgeon, not an expert in foster care at all. God has called me to do this so I’ve offered him my obedience and availability and I’ve prayed someone will come on with the ability and that is happening… the greatest example of hope is the cross of Christ.”
FFRF has sent a letter to Jeff Hogg, president of Northport City Council, advising that taxpayer funds should not be used to build a Christian chapel or Christian foster care complex.
The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from favoring religion, including the funding and proselytization of Christianity, FFRF emphasizes. Freedom Farm admits its purpose is to provide “[a] Christian home where children are introduced to God using the Bible as a roadmap in hopes that each child will develop an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ.”
“Government funds cannot be given away to churches or religious organizations in order to advance their religious missions, indoctrinate children into their religion, and build chapels for religious worship,” FFRF Attorney Chris Line emphasizes.
While FFRF certainly supports providing resources to improve conditions for kids in foster care, this care should be administered in a secular way by the state and not through a religious organization that intends to indoctrinate children when they are at their most vulnerable or to use taxpayer funds for the purposes of building a religious chapel.
While programs to improve the lives of foster children are laudable, those involving public funds must respect the Establishment Clause and the First Amendment rights of all residents of the city of Northport.
The Alabama state Constitution in Article 1, Section 3 likewise bars public money from being used to build or repair any place of worship or maintain any ministry.
“It’s a fundamental constitutional principle that in the United States, no citizen may be taxed to support someone else’s church or religious institution,” states FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “The Establishment Clause firmly prohibits such religious subsidies.”
You can read FFRF’s letter to the city of Northport here.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 40,000 members and several chapters across the country, including members in Alabama. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.