PRESS RELEASE PRESS RELEASE PRESS RELEASE American Gay and Lesbian Atheists, Inc. P O Box

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*************************************************************** PRESS RELEASE PRESS RELEASE PRESS RELEASE American Gay and Lesbian Atheists, Inc. P O Box 66711 Houston, TX 77266-6711 GAY ATHEISTS DENOUNCE CITY'S FUNDING OF BAPTIST AIDS HOUSE For Immediate Release Wednesday, November 2, 1994 Houston, TX -- Today, American Gay and Lesbian Atheists, a national, non-profit 501(c)(3) educational foundation headquartered in Houston, Texas, denounced plans by the City of Houston to use Housing and Community Development grant money to fund a so-called "transitional housing" project for persons with AIDS sponsored by the Brentwood Baptist Church of Houston. On Wednesday, the predominately black church in southeast Houston will be asking the Houston City Council for over $106,000 to pay for the costs of architectural planning and other start-up fees in order to build the AIDS care facility on church property. AGLA takes a strong position on the side of the First Amendment which calls for separation between church and state, and sees Brentwood Baptist Church's peculiar interest in AIDS care as merely a ploy to bilk taxpayer funds in order to improve the value of religious property. Ironically, at the same time Brentwood Baptist Church appears to be reaching out to persons suffering with AIDS, some of its own members and persons living in the neighborhood near the church are voicing their opinions that they do not want an AIDS house near them, citing fears that the disease might be contracted simply from being near such a facility. "Such unfounded fears about the means by which AIDS is spread were put to rest over ten years ago," says Don Sanders, national director of AGLA. "However, religious people tend to hold on to prejudice and superstition in the face of scientific evidence, something which religious people have always shunned." "The Brentwood Baptists Church, like a number of churches, form separate non-profit entities in order to take money from the public coffers for so-called charitable purposes for the poor or the sick. In actuality, such allegedly separate organizations are used as front to funnel public dollars back into the church itself," states Sanders. AGLA also contends that churches prosper by extending helping hands to those suffering with AIDS since many persons on the verge of death will sign over their life insurance policies to the church, and relatives of the sick will make donations to the affiliated church. "What Brentwood Baptist Church is doing -- trying to scam the public by bilking tax dollars to fund its building project under the guise of caring for persons with AIDS -- represents the lowest form of skullduggery imaginable," declares Sanders. "Councilmember Al Calloway, who represents the area, should resign for this blatant attempt of trying to mix church and state in such a manner, while at the same time, using persons in the last stages of AIDS to funnel money into a purely sectarian interest," notes Sanders. *********************************************************************** * * * American Atheists website: http://www.atheists.org * * PO Box 140195 FTP: ftp://ftp.atheists.org * * Austin, TX 78714-0195 * * Voice: (512) 458-1244 Dial-THE-ATHEIST: * * FAX: (512) 467-9525 (512) 458-5731 * * * * Atheist Viewpoint TV: avtv@atheists.org * * Info on American Atheists: info@atheists.org, * * & American Atheist Press include your name and mailing address * * AANEWS -Free subscription: aanews-request@listserv.atheists.org * * and put "info aanews" in message body * * * * This text may be freely downloaded, reprinted, and/other * * otherwise redistributed, provided appropriate point of * * origin credit is given to American Atheists. * * * ***********************************************************************

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