Godless in Chicago

Illinois General Assembly Donates Your Tax Dollars to Their Favorite Churches

You weren't supposed to find out about this, but last week, the Illinois General Assembly donated millions of dollars to their favorite houses of worship, parochial schools and various charities that serve specific favored religious groups.

It's all unconstitutional.  Here are three of the worst examples:

The only way that I found out about this was from reading Ray Long and Rick Pearson's story, Pass the pork:  Quinn and lawmakers dole out projects, on Monday, June 1, 2009, in the online edition of the Tribune.

There was a link in the story right to the legislation.  It's the 972-page House Bill 313 - Senate Amendment 3, that revealed all of the secrets that the Legislature was trying to keep from us, and especially me.

Here are the three worst examples of blatantly unconstitutional expenditures that I've found, so far:

On page 170, a grant of $700,000, your tax dollars, to St. Malachy School for "costs associated with capital improvements."  There can't possibly be a single legislator in all of Springfield who doesn't know that Article X, Section 3, of the Illinois Constitution prohibits grants of tax dollars to parochial schools, yet there are dozens of similar grants throughout the Bill.

On page 54, a grant of $150,000, your tax dollars, to Keshet for "costs associated with construction of a cabin at Camp Chi," a Jewish camp IN WISCONSIN!  It's bad enough that the legislature is making unconstitutional donations to religious organizations, but now they're making donations to religious facilities in OTHER STATES!  Hey, I went to Camp Chi one year in the '60s.  It was right around when I was Bar Mitzvahed.  It's a great camp, but you can't go taxing people to support a place where children are sent to have a religious experience, particularly when the place is out-of-state!

Here's the most outrageous of them all:  On pages 335 and 336, a grant of $140,000, your tax dollars, "to Catholic Bishop of Chicago" (that's Cardinal George) "for general infrastructure at St. Martin de Porres Church."

Cardinal George.jpg

Cardinal George, from the Archdiocese of Chicago web site www.archdiocese-chgo.org

 

Now, how did that happen?  Do you remember the unconstitutional Moment of Silence law that I successfully challenged in Federal Court?  One of the sponsors of that law was State Representative LaShawn Ford.

LaShawn Ford.jpg

State Representative LaShawn Ford (Democrat, 8th District).

According to Mr. Ford's biography on his State Representative web site, Rep. Ford is a "member of St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church Parish Council and Finance Committee."  Oh, so that's how it works when you're a state representative!  Instead of asking your fellow parishoners to donate to your church, just go to Springfield and sponsor a law that requires everybody in the state to donate to your church.

I thought that's why we had a Revolutionary War, so that we would no longer be taxed to support the church of the person or persons in power.

Representative Ford ought to be impeached, but he's not the only one.  This law, with all of these millions of dollars in illegal donations of tax dollars to religious organizations, was approved unanimously by all 59 members of the Illinois Senate, and unanimously, 115-0, in the 118-member Illinois House.  Rep. Coulson and Rep. Fritchey voted "Present," with Rep. Hamos not voting.

You haven't heard the last of this one from me.  I've already been in touch with Governor Quinn's office about meeting with the Governor to urge him to veto each and every one of the hundreds of unconstitutional provisions of this Bill.  If he won't, or if he does and the General Assembly overrides his veto, I'll file suit to stop the expenditures, just like I sued to stop that million dollar grant by ex-Gov. Blagojevich to Pilgrim Baptist Church.

Stay tuned.

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9 Comments

CPK said:

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"Instead of asking your fellow parishoners to donate to your church, just go to Springfield and sponsor a law that requires everybody in the state to donate to your church"

Nicely put. This is ridiculous.

Rob Sherman said:

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Precisely, which is why Chicago Now has invited me to join their team, to expose these types of scams and generate more opposition to what's going on there and elsewhere.

farmboy said:

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Rob, I don't agree with you on your opposition to groups such as the Boy Scouts of America having equal access to public facilities and government support because they require members to make a statement of faith in a higher power. I do agree with you that citizens are not being fairly represented by a government that is allocating tax dollars to specific churches or religious organizations. There is a huge difference.

semaphore1 said:

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I love a good conspiracy as much as anyone but the General Assembly specifically delineated the projects this year so you could find out about these projects.

In the past the projects were hidden as lump sum appropriation with no information on who was getting the money. (aka 50 million for school constructions)

Senate President Cullerton reformed it this year so every project is delineated on the General Assembly website. The point was for you to be able to find out where your money is going. Nice work you did what they wanted you to do.

Trusting In Jesus said:

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The state government should NOT be giving tax payer dollars to any individual or group when they have a several billion dollar hole they dug for us. The government should NOT be paying for the of supplying food, health care, education, or any other expenditure that does not deal with public safety or infrastructure. What Mr. Sherman fails to point is that billions of tax payer dollars have been taken from those who have and given to those who have not, all under the state religious system. Government is suppose to exist for one basic reason, punish those who break the law and protect those that keep it. Government theft forces the rest of us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and house the homeless. All designed to create a worship system for the state with politicians and elected officials as it's high priests. Last I checked those duties of welfare belonged to private citizens acting out of their own benevolence not government coercion. The churches that Mr Sherman hates so much have understood that. Now when the taxpaying citizen of churches seek to get some of THEIR money back to help their neighborhoods Mr Sherman is up in arms. Tax the rich, feed the poor., til there are no rich no more! Alvin Lee, 10 Years After

Rob Sherman said:

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Thanks for reading and responding. Be sure to tell everybody at your church about Godless in Chicago. I'd be interested in reading their responses to what I'm saying. Am I the only one who feels this way? Are you the only one who feels the way you do?

twotone said:

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Absurd spending as our social services programs are being destroyed as I write. Jobs are currently being slashed, doors to facilities are being closed now while spending in this bill 313 borders on insane in the context of current affairs. Many of the allocations are riduculous at this time and let us not forget this one:
Section 455. The sum of $25,000, or so much thereof as
17 may be necessary, is appropriated from the Build Illinois Bond
18 Fund to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for
19 a grant to NCSY – Midwest Mesorah Region for costs associated
20 with construction of a new facility.
NCSY is a multi-faceted Jewish Youth group which is open to all Jewish youth regardless of background and affiliation. Offering social and educational programming in hundreds of communities across the U.S. and Canada, NCSY is a leader in bringing unaffiliated youth an awareness of what Judaism is all about. For Jewish teenagers, NCSY is a relaxed, fun environment to learn about their own heritage.

Or this one:Section 200. The sum of $250,000, or so much thereof as
20 may be necessary, is appropriated from the Build Illinois Bond
21 Fund to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for
09600HB0313sam003 -45- SDS096 00139 BAS 10139 a
1 a grant to the Harwood Solon House for costs associated with
2 renovations to the facility.Thei

Currently for sale ($299,000), the building needs a total renovation, including new mechanicals, bathrooms, and kitchen. A new metal roof was installed 2008. More details about the house, its history, and photographs are found under the Harwood Solon House in Buildings Saved.
These are important while social services agencies are forced to layoff and close their doors!!!

twotone said:

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And what is this:
16 Section 610. The sum of $250,000, or so much thereof as
17 may be necessary, is appropriated from the Build Illinois Bond
18 Fund to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for
19 a grant to Agudath of Israel for costs associated with capital
20 improvements.

Again, as i witness closures of agencies that have helped thousands of people over the years, why are there not reductions to the literally millions of dollars allocated in grants to "parks".

SMK said:

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Thanks for keeping your eyes on this, Rob. We disparately need an involved citizenry.

The faith communities need to get their own members to decide what's important and support those endeavors.

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