Glenn Beck Gives Grant to Christian Shelter That Lost Federal Funding Over Bible Program

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By Brendan Giusti, Christian Post Reporter
November 15, 2011|5:24 pm

Two residential treatment facilities in Colorado Springs, Colo., that lost federal funding after requiring residents to participate in Bible study classes are likely to remain open after television personality Glenn Beck gave the shelters a $55,000 grant.

Gospel Shelters for Women, which operates Liza's Place and Hope Home, recently lost $25,000 a year in federal funding for mandating that clients participate in the Bible study group, according to reports.

The shelters offer services to women who are homeless, mentally ill or addicted to drugs and alcohol.

The shelters clearly violated the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) policies dictating the terms of receiving federal funding.

"Participation in religious activities must be voluntary," HUD said on its Website. "HUD-funded services must be open to all who are eligible for them, whether they are members of your church, denomination, or religion; or not."

Marilyn Vyzourek, founder and executive director of Gospel Shelters for Women, maintains that the Christian aspect of the shelters is an integral part of the program.

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The company's website prominently displays its mission statement, which is "to help homeless, previously incarcerated women with programs of restoration through the love of Jesus, Bible truths and self-discipline."

Beck offered the money to Gospel Shelters for Women on Tuesday.

"I was really excited, because I knew God's people were going to come through," Vyzourek told the Colorado Springs Gazette.

It is not clear how the shelters plan to fund operations in the coming years without the federal dollars.

Beck devoted several minutes on his show Tuesday to the issue of federally funding religious-based programs.

"You don't want us to talk about Jesus? What are they afraid of?" Beck said.

HUD, however, makes no mention of stifling religious aspects of organizations receiving funding.

"Faith-based organizations that receive federal assistance may keep their religious name; continue to carry out religious activities; keep and display religious signs and symbols inside and outside their facilities; continue to use religion as a basis to select their board members (including members of the clergy); and otherwise govern themselves on a religious basis," HUD states on its website.

The sole issue surrounding Gospel Shelters for Women's federal funding is the mandate that all people receiving treatment partake in Bible study classes.

"[People who use federally funded services] should have no feeling or sense that their participation in inherently religious activities that are separate in time and/or place from HUD-funded activities, or even participation in something like prayer before a meal, is somehow required for them in order to receive HUD-funded services," according to HUD.

 

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