Tax The Churches: A new report from American Atheists, a religious equality organization, finds that the Trump administration spent $6 to $10 billion taxpayer dollars on church bailouts this year.
In addition to the $6 to $10 billion taxpayer dollars spent on church bailouts, American Atheists “estimated that another $4 to $8 billion of taxpayer money has gone to private schools, most of which are religious.”
To put that in some perspective, the total annual budget for the Center For Disease Control is only $6.5 billion, which means the Trump administration spent nearly twice as much money bailing out churches than fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
American Atheists report:
Today, the religious equality watchdog organization American Atheists announced that the Trump Administration has spent at least $6 to $10 billion unconstitutionally bailing out houses of worship under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) run by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
In addition, American Atheists estimated that another $4 to $8 billion of taxpayer money has gone to private schools, most of which are religious.
Commenting on the numbers, Nick Fish, president of American Atheists, said:
In two months, the Trump Administration has given churches and religious schools more money than double the CDC’s annual budget of $6.5 billion. If that doesn’t make it crystal clear what this administration’s priorities are, nothing will.
As for specifics, it is no surprise that Trump allies are receiving special favors. For example, Reuters reports that the First Baptist Church of Dallas, whose pastor, Robert Jeffress, has been on Trump’s evangelical advisory board, “was approved for a forgivable loan worth $2 million to $5 million, according to long-awaited government data released on Monday.”
In addition, HuffPost reports:
The list of religious organizations approved for about 88,400 small business loans also included Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc, a Missouri church which in 2007-2011 was investigated by the Senate over its finances. That church was approved for $5 million to $10 million – the largest sum an individual entity could apply for.
Make no mistake, these church bailouts are a clear violation of the separation of church and state. Instead of helping America’s small businesses, the federal government is now supporting churches with taxpayer money, something the Constitution explicitly prohibits.
Indeed, it is outrageous to think that the current administration would sink so low as to violate the separation of church and state and trash the U.S. Constitution, but here we are.
Bottom line: In a clear violation of the separation of church and state, the Trump administration spent $6 to $10 billion taxpayer dollars on church bailouts this year, using taxpayer money meant to help American small businesses to bail out churches and pay pastor salaries.