The American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State have launched a case on behalf of homeless men and taxpayers against the District of Columbia, over its decision to grant over $12 million in public property and cash to Central Union Mission.
The ACLU quotes the director of the mission as saying: “We are in the business of converting people to Christ. That’s what we do.” They claim that the mission, which runs homeless shelters in the city, compels church attendance, only employs Christians, and requires volunteers to state their church allegiance.
The taxpayer plaintiffs include the episcopal Bishop of Washington and a Catholic priest. The case challenges a July decision by the Council to make a property exchange deal involving $7 million in cash that, the ACLU says, would net the mission a profit of $12 million.