Illinois Legislators Give Million$ to Sponsor Their Own Faith-Based Wishes

Rob Sherman is challenging Illinois legislators over money they’ve earmarked for their own pet projects — many of which enhance their personal faith and are easily a conflict of interest.

Here’s just one example:

State Representative LaShawn Ford (D-08) voted to send a Grant of $500,000 (see Page 129 of the Details List) to Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School, a Roman Catholic parochial high school on the West Side of Chicago, for a new building. LaShawn is a Member of the Board of Trustees of Christ the King. I spoke to LaShawn last month. I asked him if he thought that there was a conflict of interest in him voting to send money to an organization at which he is on the Board of Directors and, if not, why not. LaShawn, who was a co-sponsor of the unconstitutional Student Prayer Act that I successfully challenged in federal court, replied that there was no conflict of interest and that the reason he voted for the Grant was “Because the community needed it.”; Now, it’s certainly possible that his community needed a more modern educational institution, and that public funds are appropriate for such a need, but those funds should be spent on building a public school, not a parochial school.  Children should not be forced to endure religious indoctrination as a condition for receiving taxpayer support for their education.

LaShawn also voted to send a Grant of $140,000 (see Page 93 of the Details List) to Saint Martin de Porres Roman Catholic Church, also on the West Side of Chicago, for “general infrastructure.”; LaShawn is on both the Parish Council and the Finance Council of St. Martin de Porres Church, where his primary job is to raise money for the church. LaShawn helped pass a law forcing atheists throughout Illinois, like me, to donate to his church, rather than persuading the rapidly dwindling number of members of his own church to donate to it.

Rob has several other examples on his site.

It’s good to know there’s someone keeping an eye on things like this because Illinois voters and our other elected officials generally don’t.

These politicians need more exposure and more coverage.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    With these two examples, you can pretty much just leave any mention of religion out of it. It’s a blatant conflict of interest, and LaShawn is abusing his position to get special treatment. How pathetic.

    Thanks, Rob, for shining some light on it.

  • http://lagunatic.wordpress.com/ Lagunatic

    And more smacks upside the head, apparently.

  • http://lagunatic.wordpress.com/ Lagunatic

    These politicians need more exposure and more coverage…..and more smacks upside the head.

  • muggle

    Lots more exposure and coverage.

    And, you know, a little something, being held accountable.

  • muggle

    Lots more exposure and coverage.

    And, you know, a little something, being held accountable.

  • muggle

    Lots more exposure and coverage.

    And, you know, a little something, being held accountable.

  • muggle

    Lots more exposure and coverage.

    And, you know, a little something, being held accountable.

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    Quite sickening, really, especially the arrogance of it all.

  • http://lagunatic.wordpress.com/ Lagunatic

    ARGH! double post…the first one didn’t show up so I thought it got ate.
    Sorry.

  • http://lagunatic.wordpress.com/ Lagunatic

    Hemant!!!! Come fix your damn site – it’s going all Short Circuit on us :D :D

  • Jim H

    Off-topic: Hemant, I guess you don’t control the content of ads on your site? Right now, http://www.blessedsacrament.com wants me to become an apostle of the eucharist… pushing buttons from my childhood indoctrinations…

    Or maybe I’m on-topic: is there an Illinois law regarding ads on atheist web sites?

  • muggle

    Sorry for the triple post! (Hey, I actually outdid Lagunatic.)

    There’s some kind of glitch going on and you can’t see your own posts until you refresh the main page.

    In other words, don’t keep clicking submit like I did.

  • Fritzy

    State representatives have become more representative…of their own selfish interests. The people of Illinois need to call for this shameless jerks head.

  • Hilary

    I feel like someone should look at this for Michigan… we’re so poor, we’d better not be throwing our money away in similar ways. Where would one find these things? I glanced at the budget, but it isn’t that detailed.

    I don’t know if I’d have the patience to go through a big detailed document, but I suppose one could just search for key words like “church” and “parish.”

  • Miko

    How is it fair to give public funds to some schools (i.e., government-run schools) and not others? The parents of the children at the private schools are still paying taxes going towards education, aren’t they? I’d bet that conservative Christians who send their kids to parochial schools would object to their tax dollars being spent on a school that teaches evolution in exactly the same way that we’d object to funding a religious school. If you’re going to use the government as a club to intimidate people into doing things your way, you can’t act surprised when they get a club of their own.

    Note that in most parts of the country schools are paid for out of property tax funds and since the portion of the property tax on the buildings is passed on to renters (but not the part on the land itself, since that can’t be passed on as there isn’t a mechanism by which the owners can change the supply of land). If we as a society were to reach a consensus that providing ‘education’ is not a job for the government and lower property taxes accordingly (ideally, by instituting a split rate where the tax on buildings is lowered while the tax on the land is kept the same or even increased), everyone including the very poor (who are often thought to pay little in taxes because it isn’t realized that they pay most of their taxes in the form of higher rents) would save more than enough money to send their children to the school of their choice. We’d eliminate the acrimonious debate over which schools the government should fund, we’d no longer have to worry that our children’s education would be destroyed by some stealth reactionary getting a seat on a school board, and we’d probably even get better educational outcomes due to the increased competition (if you don’t believe me on this last point, ask yourself where you got a better education: at the public school you had no choice about other than your parents deciding what district to live in, or at the college where you did have a choice).

  • DGKnipfer

    Miko,

    Easy, private run schools are by definition private. They have no right to public funds. Public schools are by definition public and are mandated for the General Welfare of the public. Private schools can require indoctrination into the view of their board of directors or owners (in this case a Catholic organization). Public schools cannot do so.
    Don’t give me any crap about teaching evolution in science classes in public schools. Evidence supports the theory of evolution so teaching that evidence supports the theory of evolution in science class isn’t teaching a point of view. It’s teaching the evidence.

  • DGKnipfer

    Miko,

    Easy, private run schools are by definition private. They have no right to public funds. Public schools are by definition public and are mandated for the General Welfare of the public. Private schools can require indoctrination into the view of their board of directors or owners (in this case a Catholic organization). Public schools cannot do so.
    Don’t give me any crap about teaching evolution in science classes in public schools. Evidence supports the theory of evolution so teaching that evidence supports the theory of evolution in science class isn’t teaching a point of view. It’s teaching the evidence.

  • steve

    I am glad the Illinois house decided not to go for the idea of vouchers for parents of chicago public school students. JUst think about it. A lot of private and Catholic schools are barely hanging on. If they had to depend on the state to actually pay these vouchers, like they pay all of their other bills, they would go broke and more would close.


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