Houses of worship in North and South Carolina are looking into getting taxpayer funds to help them rebuild in the wake of a devastating hurricane. The storm, Hurricane Florence, targeted the Carolinas in September, killing dozens and leaving massive amounts of property damage in its wake.
In the past, houses of worship and institutions used primarily for religious purposes have not been eligible for funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), but that's changing under the administration of President Donald Trump.
Last year, Trump ordered FEMA officials to offer tax aid to churches, arguing that the Supreme Court has permitted such assistance in certain cases--a claim many advocates of church-state separation dispute.
"Obviously many of them were impacted and we have seen a number of requests for assistance and direction on how to get help," Kevin Smith, director for the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives in the Department of Homeland Security, told Religion News Service (RNS) last month.
RNS reported that to get federal aid, houses of worship "must first recover what they can from their insurance policies. If insurance doesn't cover the cost of repairs, they must then apply for a low-interest loan from the federal Small Business...