WASHINGTON (CN) – An Episcopal bishop, a Roman Catholic priest-professor at Georgetown University and several homeless people have sued the District of Columbia over its gift of the $12 million Gales School, and cash, to the Central Union Mission, which runs a men’s shelter that compels attendance at religious services. The plaintiff clergymen object to the “aggressive proselytizing that takes places and the Central Union Mission” and say the unconstitutional funding “leads to overt or subtle coercion of vulnerable populations”.
The Right Reverend John Bryson Chane and the Rev. Joseph M. Palacios are the lead plaintiffs. They are joined as plaintiffs by two homeless people, two people who attend services at the Mission but do not believe in state-supported religion, and two taxpayers. One of the homeless men says he was thrown out of the Mission when he stopped attending the compulsory services because he had to lie down to treat his phlebitis.
Plaintiffs are represented by Arthur Spitzer with the ACLU.