Here a little background on Morning Star Ranch:
Morning Star Ranch is World Impact’s Christian training center for inner-city young men ages 18-25…
Following the example of Jesus and in the spirit of 2 Timothy 2:2, the Ranch disciples young men from inner cities across America. These young men are prepared to assume roles of servant leadership in their families; in their place of vocation; in their community; and in their churches. Means of developing servant leadership are Bible teaching, one-on-one relationships, vocational training, academic training, sports, and hands-on ministry.
In response to Matthew 28: 18-20, the Ranch serves inner cities by providing camping opportunities for children and youth. The primary goals of the camps are relationship building, evangelism, spiritual growth, and wholesome fun. To share the Ranch’s heart for inner cities, its facilities are made available to all followers of Christ.
Obviously, it’s by Christians, for Christians. Privately, that’s perfectly legal.
So why is it receiving government money?
“A recent spending bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush sets aside $595,000 for Morning Star Ranch, a Christian-only evangelist training camp,” said Mel Lipman, president of the American Humanist Association. “This is a sectarian religious camp where no Jews need apply, nor any other non-Christians, including humanists. Providing this operation taxpayer dollars is a clear and outrageous violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
The spending bill that contained the earmark in the House-Senate Conference Report was signed into law by President Bush on December 26, 2007.
“Religious groups aren’t barred from receiving federal funds so long as there is some guarantee that the tax monies will be used exclusively for secular purposes,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “But there is no guarantee of that in this case, and it in fact appears as though the federal funds will be used to repair buildings that will be employed exclusively by Christians for a sectarian purpose. That is why we’re writing to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to advise them of this problem and to stop the flow of funds for unconstitutional purposes.”
The letter asks that Secretary Jackson inform the [Appignani Humanist Legal Center] by Wednesday, February 6, 2008, of any money granted to or plans to grant money to Morning Star Ranch. The letter also informs Jackson that if word has not been received by that date then the AHLC will seek redress in federal district court.
Not surprisingly, one of the sponsors of this earmark was Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS).
Anyone else have more information on this?
(Thanks to Laramie for the link!)