A plan by city officials in Charlotte, N.C., to Subsidize the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association raises church-state concerns, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
According to published reports, the city plans to deduct $325,000 from the price of 63.5 acres of land that it is selling to the Graham ministry, which is moving to Charlotte from Minneapolis. In a letter to Charlotte officials in July, Americans United charged that the price reduction is a government subsidy to a religious organization at taxpayer expense.
Graham's ministry, which in 2000 had an income of over $125 million and assets of over $286 million, intends to build its headquarters on the Charlotte property. A museum and an archive center are also planned.
Writing to Charlotte Mayor Patrick L. McCrory, AU Legal Director Ayesha Khan and AU attorney Allison Pierce asserted, "The courts have uniformly held...