“The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution permits religious organizations to receive generally available government benefits like the funds at issue here,” Keisha Russell and Ryan Gardner, lawyers with the firm First Liberty Institute, wrote in the letter, provided to Fox News Digital.
“Moveover, the Free Exercise Clause forbids the type of religious discrimination proposed by [the Freedom From Religion Foundation] FFRF whereby otherwise qualified religious organizations would be excluded because of their religious character or identity,” ellos added in the letter.
The First Liberty lawyers represent Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, which recently applied for a $ 35,000 grant to restore the indoor, junior Olympic swimming pool located in its Family Life Center in order to reopen the pool freely for the community’s use and enjoyment.
FFRF had previously sent a letter warning that the grant would violate the Establishment Clause. “The Center would undoubtedly use its pool to entice those in the community to come to the Center where it could then recruit them to join the Church,” FFRF staff attorney Christopher Line wrote in the letter, dated May 11.