Thursday, May 30, 2024

State Department Accused of Using Taxpayer Money to Promote Atheism; State Dept: ‘Atheism Grant’ May Have Been Misused; Biden Admin Funds Atheists Abroad

State Department accused of using taxpayer money to promote atheism:
House Republican lawmakers on Wednesday accused the State Department of engaging in a “pattern of obfuscation and denial” as it used taxpayer money to promote atheism overseas.
At issue is a $500,000 grant solicited by the department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in April of 2021 that was eventually awarded to Humanists International (HI), an organization the promotes humanism – an outlook that holds no belief in god, the supernatural, an afterlife or a higher source of moral values.
The State Department maintained for years that the grant money was being used to support religious freedom programs and to encourage tolerance toward religious minority populations overseas, denying that any efforts were being made to recruit people for the humanist cause.
The government agency did not acknowledge any potential misuse of taxpayer funds until last month, after it sent congressional investigators a PowerPoint slide deck purportedly being used by HI in programming in Nepal that the State Department later admitted “were not the actual slides provided at the trainings.”
“We write to address what the Department has now acknowledged were its misrepresentations made to Congress about the scope and nature of programming that – for the first time in US diplomatic history – has sought to promote atheism overseas under the guise of ‘religious freedom,’” Reps. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Brian Mast (R-Fla.) wrote in a letter sent to State Department Deputy Secretary Richard Verma on Wednesday.
The lawmakers argued that the State Department misled Congress as it sought to “expand atheist networks abroad in violation of the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution.”
“Indeed, following 15 months of our calling attention to this issue, it was not until April 29, 2024 that the Department finally expressed ‘deep concern’ with the programing, and stated that it will ‘pursue appropriate accountability measures,’” McCaul, Smith and Mast said. --->READ MORE HERE
State Dept: ‘Atheism Grant’ May Have Been Misused:
House Republicans who have led a nearly two-year investigation into a $500,000 State Department grant to an organization that promotes humanism and secularism are pressing the agency to conduct more diligent oversight after it admitted that the organization may have misused taxpayer funds.
Rep. Mike McCaul, a Texas Republican who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who heads the panel’s human rights subcommittee, have accused the State Department of trying to promote atheism overseas under the guise of advancing religious pluralism, a longtime U.S. foreign policy priority. Rep. Brian Mast, a Florida Republican who chairs the panel’s oversight and accountability subcommittee, has also helped spearhead inquiries into the grant.
For more than a year, the trio has been investigating the decision-making behind the State Department’s April 2021 solicitation bid for a $500,000 grant titled “Promoting and Defending Religious Freedom Inclusive of Atheist, Humanist, Non-Practicing and Non-Affiliated Individuals.” The agency awarded the grant to Humanists International, or HI, an organization aimed at promoting humanism, an outlook and system of thought attaching prime importance to human effort rather than divine or supernatural powers.
In a letter sent to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Verma Wednesday, McCaul, Smith, and Mast charged the State Department with engaging in a “pattern of obfuscation and denial” throughout the investigation in order to “expand atheism networks” overseas. The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause of the Constitution bars the use of tax dollars to promote theocracy, a specific religion or belief system.
It was not until Foreign Affairs Committee staff contacted the HI to schedule a transcribed interview, and the organization retained legal counsel, that the “true scope” of the grant’s programming was revealed, the GOP House members asserted. HI’s attorneys contacted the State Department and admitted it had provided the wrong slides presented during its training session in Nepal.
“Legal counsel for the grantee uncovered in a matter of weeks what the Department obfuscated, misrepresented and denied for years,” they wrote, expressing skepticism about the agency’s stated commitment to recoup any misused funds and take action to bar HI from further State Department grants.
“We do, however, appreciate your statements, and we expect to be informed fully and without delay of all developments in this matter,” they continued. “The Department can reasonably expect congressional oversight of grant funding to continue since the need for it is all the more pressing in light of the recent revelations.” --->READ MORE HERE
Follow link below to a relevant story:


If you like what you see, please "Like" and/or Follow us on FACEBOOK here, GETTR here, and TWITTER here.

No comments: