Archbishop Lori, Bishop Madden Urge Senate To Support The Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act Of 2013, S. 1274

July 29, 2013 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON— Archbishop William E.Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB)Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Denis J. Madden, auxiliarybishop of Baltimore and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Ecumenical and InterreligiousAffairs, hailed the introduction of S. 1274 by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and RoyBlunt and urged U.S. Senators to support passage of the Federal DisasterAssistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013. S. 1274 is similar to H.R. 592, which overwhelminglypassed the House of Representatives on February 13, 2013.

Ina July 29 letter, Archbishop Lori and Bishop Madden asked Senators to supportthe legislation, which would ensure the fair and equal treatment for houses ofworship damaged in natural disasters by enabling them to seek aid from theFederal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The letter noted that S. 1274 "is consistentwith Supreme Court jurisprudence, which recognizes the right of religiousinstitutions to receive public financial aid in the context of a broad programadministered on the basis of religion-neutral criteria."Archbishop Lori and Bishop Madden explainedthat houses of worship often play an "irreplaceable role in the recovery of acommunity" after a natural disaster.

"Discrimination that treats housesof worship as ineligible for federal assistance in the wake of a naturaldisaster, beyond being a legal violation, hurts the very communities mostaffected by the indiscriminate force of nature," said Archbishop Lori and BishopMadden.

The full letter is available online:http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/senate-letter-sandy-fema-support-lori-madden-2013-07.pdf

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Keywords: Archbishop William Lori, BishopDenis Madden, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Federal DisasterAssistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013, Federal Emergency Management Agency,FEMA, religious liberty, religious freedom, houses of worship, disaster relief

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