DOJ Defunds Youth Programs that Reference God
The Department of Justice has summarily removed federal funding from two Louisiana youth programs because a local official refused to sign a pledge stating he would require the programs to ban mentions of God.
Julian Whittington, the sheriff of Bossier Parish, LA, told Fox News that Obama's Justice Office of Civil Rights de-funded the Young Marines chapter and another youth program over mentions of religion. In the case of the Young Marine program, chartered in 1965, the funding was cut off because the group features an oath that mentions "God." In the other case, it was because a program for at-risk youth featured a voluntary, student-led prayer session as one of its activities.
Sheriff Whittington says that the DOJ withdrew a combined $30,000 from the programs because the groups refused to remove God from their activities. The sheriff said this was evidence of the government's "aggression and infringement of our religious freedoms."
Whittington told Fox, "We were informed that these are unacceptable, inherently religious activities and the Department of Justice would not be able to fund the programs if it continued. They wanted a letter from me stating that I would no longer have voluntary prayer and I would also have to remove ‘God’ from the Young Marine’s oath."
The oath from the Young Marine organization reads:
From this day forward, I sincerely promise, I will set an example for all other youth to follow and I shall never do anything that would bring disgrace or dishonor upon God, my Country and its flag, my parents, myself or the Young Marines. These I will honor and respect in a manner that will reflect credit upon them and myself. Semper Fidelis
Both the U.S. Army enlistment oath and its commissioning oath end with "so help me God."
As to the at-risk youth program, Whittington said,"We're not promoting any specific religion, this is just voluntary prayer, mention of God, how offensive and bad can that be?"
In response to the DOJ’s message insisting that he sign the anti-God pledge, Sheriff Whittington sent a letter of his own to LA Governor Bobby Jindal.
"As a Christian, Sheriff and American citizen, I am writing to express my frustration and concern over the persistent aggression and infringement of our religious freedoms which have been imposed upon the law enforcement grant programs, specifically related to the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement,” wrote the Sheriff.
In cutting off the funding, the DOJ claimed it was a violation of Church and State rules for the government to fund any group that mentions God.
Fox's Todd Starnes says that, "Both youth programs have been hailed as a successful way to reach at-risk young people. Since 2002 more than 1,000 young people have graduated from the program, directed by a Bossier Parish deputy who is a former U.S. Marine."
Like Sheriff Whittington, Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) was troubled by the DOJ's actions.
"There is a very wide effort coming out of the administration that seeks to stamp out freedom of expressions – particularly religion and especially freedom of Christian expression," Fleming said. "They are willing to throw the youth overboard and remove the funding just in the name of making this an atheist, agnostic, secular organization."
"They (DOJ) don’t want anything to have any sort of religious support – even down to prayer," Fleming said. "It’s sad and it’s inconsistent with the intentions of the framers of the Constitution."
Sheriff Whittington is not taking this lying down. "When something is not right and you know it’s not right and you keep bowing down, nothing is ever going to change," he said.