But the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has to differentiate which victims qualify for government aid. And churches don’t make the cut.

So three Texas churches impacted by Hurricane Harvey sued FEMA this week for deeming them ineligible for disaster relief grants. The agency’s policy excludes sanctuaries that serve as shelters after natural disasters.

I am conflicted about this issue.  It is a Tom as lawyer vs. Tom as pastor thing.

As a lawyer, it is clear Constitutional law that the government is not allowed to discriminate based upon a person or institution’s beliefs.  It is called viewpoint based discrimination.  So if a type of benefit is offered by the government generally, it cannot decide to pick and choose between the recipients of that benefit based upon their beliefs.  This is designed to protect the country from the government (political party in power) supporting only those beliefs it likes and punishing those it does not like.

As a pastor, it is not so clear.  If we as a church are offering our services out of the love of Jesus should we fight to get reimbursed by the government?  Is this a battle we fight in the name of the church?

I agree that the government is in the wrong, but just because we have a right as a Christian doesn’t mean we should exercise it.

What should our response be as a church?

What do you think?



One thought

  1. Interesting. Well, when I’m unsure of something I ask myself what Jesus (or maybe the disciples) would do in my place. Would he (they) sue in this instance? Would he (they) ever sue anyone for anything?

    It is beyond me to imagine Jesus ever suing anyone. That doesn’t mean I’m right though. The disciples? I doubt they would either. Suing means you are trying to force someone to do something they don’t want to do. Is force the kingdom of God? No, I don’t think so.

    Paul said it is better to be defrauded by a brother than to sue him. I think he said to bring the dispute to the church. Can’t be done when the other party is not a brother. I think it is best not to sue. Trust God will help you.

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