USAID exporting religiously infused messages, sued by ACLU
Using taxpayer dollars to 'export' religiously infused materials and messages overseas deemed unconstitutional, the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) failure to timely respond to American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Freedom of Information Act requests, has landed USAID in federal court. USAID was sued last week by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after USAID failed to timely respond to ACLU Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
The ACLU is demanding from USAID materials related to its abstinence-only-until-marriage programs funded through HIV/AIDS grants, including requests for proposals, contracts with USAID, curricula used by grantees, communications between USAID and the White House and communications between USAID and its grantees about religious instruction in abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula.
“In the face of a growing global HIV/AIDS crisis, USAID is not only violating basic constitutional principles by promoting government-funded religious activities, it is unconscionably putting young people’s health and lives at risk,” said Rose Saxe, staff attorney with the ACLU AIDS Project.
USAID has a history of unconstitutionally funding religious activities
USAID’s Office of the Inspector General released a report last year revealing that USAID has a history of unconstitutionally funding religious activities in its health and social service programs. In addition, while USAID has sought guidance from the Department of Justice about this issue, it is not clear that the Obama administration has responded adequately to these requests or has monitored the agency’s activities to ensure that taxpayer dollars do not continue to be misused.
Let's talk transparency and government-sponsored programs based on science, not ideology
“The Obama administration has promised transparency as well as government-sponsored programs that are based on science, not ideology,” said Daniel Mach, Director of Litigation for the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. “USAID’s failure to release the documents and its blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars to export religious programming in abstinence-only-until-marriage programs fails on both counts and cannot continue.”
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Austin, Texas, United States