"Seattle--Chinese Southern Baptist Cross" by Joe Mabel / CC BY-SA 3.0

Wisconsin Town Denies $10,000 Grant to Church After Warning from Atheists

Nov 21, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

The city of Fitchburg, Wisconsin will no longer be giving a $10,000 grant to a local church after the Freedom From Religion Foundation raised questions about the constitutionality of that move.

The program in question is called the Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative which aims to improve three specific parts of the city with respect to opportunity, diversity, and sustainability. All of that is fine.

The $10,000 grant in question was approved for Chapel Valley Church and it was meant to offset the cost of various events. The church said on its application that these events would be secular in nature — group lunches, a job fair, community movies, etc. It was a way to bring people together.

What FFRF found was that the events were indeed religious. According to a sermon that was published (and since deleted) from the church’s website, one pastor described this project as a way for “people to come to experience the joy of the Lord.”

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