American Jewish Congress v. Bost

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American Jewish Congress v. Bost is an establishment clause lawsuit concerning the separation of church and state in Brenham, Texas.[1] The case is the first constitutional challenge to a charitable choice contract.[2]

History[edit]

In the community of Brenham, Texas, the American Jewish Congress and the Texas Civil Rights Project filed a lawsuit against a social services program who they believe used a tax funded jobs program to support religious practices which violated the separation of church and state. Other accusations include; use of funds to proselytize, purchase bibles, and coerce participants to "accept Jesus." [3][4] On May 21, 2002, the Houston Chronicle reported that the case would be sent to federal district court.[5]

NGO reports[edit]

The Rockefeller Institute of Government reported that the lawsuit is a response to the 1996 gathering of a number of churches and businesses in Brenham, Texas, that formed the "Jobs Partnership of Washington County," a program which has come under legal scrutiny.[1]

The Texas Freedom Network, a nonpartisan organization, reports that, "The religious message seemed to have a coercive impact on clients. About one-third of the participants said in the program evaluation that they felt pressure to join the host church, Grace Fellowship Baptist Church."[6]

Final ruling[edit]

The lawsuit went back and forth between state and federal courts and was twice appealed. In January 2003, the lawsuit that is believed to the first constitutional challenge to a “charitable choice” contract, came to a conclusion. The case was finally dismissed, "on the ground that there was no live controversy." [2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Tuttle, Robert (2002-06-14). "American Jewish Congress v. Bost". The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy. Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  2. ^ a b "Texas Lawsuit Challenging Charitable Choice Law Ends". Let Freedom Ring. 2003. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  3. ^ Editorial (2000-08-04). "Time To Say It Again". The Jewish Journal. The Jewish Journal. Archived from the original on 31 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  4. ^ Hughes, Poly R. (2000-07-25). "Lawsuit accuses Brenham-area consortium of evangelical proselytizing". Houston Chronicle. Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  5. ^ Hughes, Polly R. (2002-05-21). "Faith program challenged over use of taxpayer funds". Houston Chronicle. Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  6. ^ "Jobs Partnership of Washington County: Spending Taxpayer Funds on Overtly Religious Activities". Texas Faith-Based Initiative at Five Years: TFNEF Report (2002). Texas Freedom Network. 2002. Archived from the original on 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2007-11-01.