Churches finally have a friend in the White House.
On Friday, President Trump signed a law that that protects houses of worship from being denied disaster relief aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Washington Examiner reports.
The legislation, incorporated into the budget bill, was a response to Hurricane Harvey and Irma-related incidents from last year, in which churches and synagogues were denied the federal funding FEMA offers to other nonprofits.
Three Texas churches and two Florida synagogues, represented by the nonprofit Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, filed separate lawsuits against FEMA last year.
One of the cases, Harvest Family Church v. FEMA, made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where the agency was asked to justify its exclusion policy.
Ultimately, FEMA ended its rule denying federal aid to houses of worship. The law passed and signed on Friday cements the protections for churches, ensuring FEMA’s new policy remains intact.
A statement by Diana Verm, legal counsel for Becket, read:
“Congress has delivered a big victory for houses of worship everywhere. It was always strange to tell houses of worship that there is no room at the inn, when they are the first to help in time of need. Congress has now put this troubling history of discrimination behind us.”
With President Trump in the White House, freedom of religious is prospering again.
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