A fundamentalist Christian group that claims to help young people overcome drug and alcohol addiction through Bible study and prayer has given up a federal grant after Americans United for Separation of Church and State protested the funding.
Attorneys with Americans United wrote a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in June, noting that a $50,000 grant to Teen Challenge of Kentucky raised serious constitutional issues. The money was allocated through the Compassion Capital Fund, a special program created as part of President George W. Bush’s “faith-based” initiative.
Teen Challenge, Americans United pointed out, requires participants to take part in prayer, worship, Bible study and other religious activities. Program participants must sign a “Civil Rights Waiver” in which each surrenders the right to “exercis[e] the religion of my choice.”