Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Congress Proposes $100 Million for Security at Houses of Worship

Expand Messages
  • John-Brian Paprock
    US Congress Proposes $100 Million for Security at Houses of Worship Religion News Service April 2, 2004 [RNS - WASHINGTON, D.C.] A bipartisan group of
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2004
    View Source
    • 0 Attachment
      US Congress Proposes $100 Million for Security at Houses of Worship
      Religion News Service
      April 2, 2004

      [RNS - WASHINGTON, D.C.] A bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a US$100
      million bill Thursday (April 1) that they say will help protect "soft
      targets" such as churches and synagogues from terrorist attacks. The
      High-Risk Non-Profit Security Enhancement Act would open $50 million in
      government grants to allow hospitals, theaters and houses of worship to beef
      up security. The money could not be spent on routine security systems that
      are "reasonably necessary due to nonterrorist threats," but instead for
      concrete barricades, shatter-proofing windows and fortifying entrances. An
      additional $50 million would be available for local police departments to
      provide additional security to areas with high concentrations of at-risk
      targets, such as hospitals, schools or museums. "It's not a question of if,
      but when, where and at what magnitude our charities ... will face a very
      catastrophic event," said Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn. "That is the
      reality."

      The bill has attracted support from major Jewish organizations -- the Union
      of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, the United Synagogue of Conservative
      Judaism and United Jewish Communities -- and officials say they will seek
      similar backing from Christian and Muslim groups. Supporters say the bill
      protects the separation of church and state by delivering money to middleman
      contractors who will install the new security measures, and will not
      directly fund faith-based groups. "This is no different than government
      providing fire and police protection to private institutions, whether
      religious or not," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., a leading critic of
      President Bush's "faith-based initiative" but a supporter of the security
      bill. "No money is going directly to a faith-based institution." Under the
      plan, applicants would apply first to state homeland security agencies. If
      they are deemed "high risk," their application would be sent on to the
      federal Department of Homeland Security, which would make the final call. In
      order to be considered "high risk," organizations must demonstrate a threat
      from international terrorism, show the "symbolic value of the site as a
      highly recognized United States cultural or historical institution" and be
      the destination for at least 100 people per month or 500 people per
      year. -----------
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.