Iowa government giving financial assistance to the construction of a Christian park.

A Christian group in Iowa is constructing a Christian park and walkway on land they own.  It’s going to look about how you’d expect from a group whose sole purpose is to promote their religion:

In response to the “rise of secular influence in our culture,” the park brochure states, Shepherd’s Garden seeks to create “a permanent Christian green space for the community” that “promotes visible reminders of Christian values and symbols.”

That sounds pretty sectarian.  So one can only wonder why state money is being dispensed to help:

A new Christian park being built in Sioux City, Iowa, has advanced into its second phase of construction after Vision Iowa, a state program operated by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, approved a $140,000 grant to assist with the park’s construction costs in April.

The FFRF was quickly on top of it, making sure IEDA knew that $140,000 check was not going to be used to aid religious proselytizing.  In their letter to the IEDA, the FFRF wrote:

It is difficult to understand how this grant could have been approved. The “join us” section of the brochure — the plea for money — actually quotes the King James bible, Psalm 23 … Crosses decorate the brochure and park. This is openly about space to promote Christianity, not a public space.

Shepherd’s Garden is of course free to construct their Christian green space, but the government cannot support it. This is one of the most egregious grants for a religious purpose FFRF has encountered. Vision Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority must rescind the grant to comply with the Constitution.

It’s up to the IEDA to decide if they want to rescind the grant for free or pay a shitload of legal fees and then rescind the grant.


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