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Representatives Demand Answers From State Department For Funding Atheism Abroad

Man with atheist sign
Image CreditJennifer Boyer / Flickr / CC By 2.0, cropped

‘Any such program – for any religiously-identifiable group – in the United States would be unconstitutional.’

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U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., and other members of Congress are demanding answers about a State Department plan to fund projects supporting atheism abroad.

The State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor announced a funding opportunity last April for projects to “combat discrimination, harassment and abuses against atheist, humanist, non-practicing and non-affiliated individuals of all religious communities by strengthening networks among these communities and providing organizational training and resources.”

Fifteen representatives wrote a letter to the White House and the State Department yesterday expressing “grave concern that the State Department is using appropriated funds to support atheism and radical, progressive orthodoxy across the world.”

“It is one thing for the Department to be tolerant and respectful of a wide range of belief systems, and to encourage governments to respect the religious freedom interests of their citizens,” the representatives’ letter said. “It is quite another for the United States government to work actively to empower atheists, humanists, non-practicing, and non-affiliated in public decision-making.”

The letter continued: “Any such program – for any religiously-identifiable group – in the United States would be unconstitutional.”

The letter also questions “how such a grant or cooperative agreement program advances the foreign policy interests of the United States” and suggests a different motive.

“Americans rightly discern this as a part of the broader effort on the part of your administration to promote radical, progressive orthodoxy abroad,” the letter said. “Atheism is an integral part of the belief system of Marxism and communism.”

The letter gave other examples of such efforts, including the U.S. Embassy in Germany flying a Black Lives Matter flag and the State Department’s creation of a special representative for racial equity and justice. The letter says this individual’s mission will be to “spread Critical Race Theory and other progressive dogmas worldwide.”

The letter requests answers to twelve questions about the State Department’s “religious freedom” project, mostly dealing with the details project, how it serves U.S. interests, and whether it is fair to other belief systems.