Godless in Chicago

Governor asked to veto tax donations to churches, parochial schools

Pat Quinn.jpg

A letter has been sent today by me to Jay Stewart, a top aide to Governor Quinn, asking that the Governor veto the line items in the Pork Bill that constitute forced donations of money by taxpayers to numerous churches and parochial schools across Illinois.

I had reported on this issue in several previous posts, including Illinois General Assembly donates your tax dollars to their favorite churches and Governor's office responds regarding pork bill.

Here's a copy of the letter that I sent to the office of Governor Quinn, with hyperlinks added for your convenience:

I request that the Governor veto each and every line item in HB 313 Senate Amendment 3 that constitutes a donation of tax dollars to a church, a parochial school or any organization that would be making use of the money for a sectarian purpose.
 
Such grants violate one or more of the following:
 
The Establishment of Religion clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
 
Article I, Section 3, of the Illinois Constitution, which provides, in pertinent part, that "no person shall be required to ... support any ministry or place of worship against his consent, nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious denomination or mode of worship."
 
Article X, Section 3, of the Illinois Constitution, which provides, in pertinent part, that no money shall be expended to support any parochial school and that no grant or donation shall ever be made to any church or for any sectarian purpose.
 
Here are three examples of what I'm talking about:
 
On pages 335-336, Article 10 Section 1805, provides for a $140,000 grant to "Catholic Bishop of Chicago for general infrastructure at St. Martin de Porres Church."  According to his official biography, State Representative LaShawn Ford is a "member of St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church Parish Council and Finance Committee."
See:  http://www.ilga.gov/house/Rep.asp?GA=96&MemberID=1526
 
Is this what State government has come to?  Get elected to the General Assembly and sponsor legislation that forces all of the taxpayers of the State to donate to a State Rep.'s church?  This is the Pilgrim Baptist lawsuit, all over again, and there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of similar line items in the Bill.
 
On page 170, Article 9 Section 2625, provides for a $700,000 "grant to St. Malachy School for costs associated with capital improvements."  What happened to the ban on parochi-aid in Article X, Section 3 of the Illinois Constitution?  Here, too, there are dozen or hundreds of similar items in the Bill.
 
On page 54, Article 9 Section 375, provides for a $150,000 grant "for costs associated with construction of a cabin at the Camp Chi program."  According to the Camp Chi web site http://www.campchi.com/ , Camp Chi is the "Midwest's premier Jewish overnight camp for boys and girls ages 9-16.  Located in Lake Delton, Wisconsin."  Since when do we tax Illinois citizens to support religious institutions in another state?
 
Their web site goes on to say that they serve "Campers coming from far away places like Arizona, Florida, New Jersey and Israel."  See:  http://www.campchi.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20&Itemid=124#how.  Why are Illinois citizens being taxed to provide a religious experience, in another state of all places, to children from other states and from a foreign country?
 
On their web page entitled "Parents Guide - Camp Basics," click on the heading "Miscellaneous," and then slide down to "Jewish Values," Camp Chi states, "At the heart of a Camp Chi experience are Jewish ideals and values. As a camp, our Jewish mission and programming continually evolves as we find new, exciting and relevant ways to infuse Judaism throughout the camp program."  See:  http://www.campchi.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=142&Itemid=142.  That doesn't sound very secular to me.  What happened to Article I, Section 3, which says that taxpayers shall not be required to support any ministry against their consent?
 
On the New Camper page of their web site, under the heading, "What do we do during Shabbat [Jewish Sabbath]," the first sentence of the second paragraph states in pertinent part, "Everyone goes to Shabbat services together."
See:  http://www.campchi.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20&Itemid=124#shabbat.  Just as in the previous paragraph, what happened to the constitutional guarantee that taxpayers shall not be required to support a place of worship against his consent?
 
Camp Chi surely is a fine camp.  My parents sent me there one summer.  It was right around the time of my Bar Mitzvah.  However, how is it the job of the taxpayers of Illinois to help pay the cost for children from other states and a foreign country to have a religious experience at a facility in Wisconsin, even if the targeted children are handicapped and even if some of the handicapped children are from Illinois?  What are we doing?
 
Please let me know which line items, if any, that Governor Quinn vetoes when he signs the Bill.  If you'd like, I will go through the Bill, all 972 pages of it, to let you know which ones I want vetoed on constitutional grounds.  There are numerous other line items that should be vetoed on policy grounds on the basis that the State needs billions of dollars just to be broke, but the specific ones that I'm requesting are limited to the unconstitutional line items.
 
Best regards as always to you and Pat,
Rob Sherman

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2 Comments

carlosestebanqueso said:

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Good job and please continue to keep the readers and me posted.

vintage05 said:

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You actually sent that mindless drivel to the governor?

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