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It’s an outrage! NJ plans to cough up millions to fund training colleges for priests and rabbis

TWO sectarian institutions in New Jersey – one which trains Catholic priests, the other rabbis – are set to receive millions in taxpayers’ dollars as part of a massive education funding programme.

And Americans United for Separation of Church and State is less than pleased, pointing out:

New Jersey’s Constitution is pretty clear on the question of taxpayer aid to religious institutions. Article I, Section 3, states in part, ‘nor shall any person be obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or other rates for building or repairing any church or churches, place or places of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry….’

In addition, Section 4 of that same article goes on to say, “’shall be no establishment of one religious sect in preference to another …

Forcing New Jersey residents to subsidize seminaries that train people for careers in the pulpit would seem to be a clear violation of Article I.

The state plans to spend $1.3 billion on construction projects, many of them at colleges and universities. Schools were invited to apply for the aid, and in late April, a list of 176 approved projects at 46 colleges and universities was published.

Among the awardees are Princeton Theological Seminary and Beth Medrash Govoha, a rabbinical school In Lakewood, which enrolls over 6,000 students and is said to be one of the largest and most prominent yeshivas in the world.

More than half the population of Lakewood NJ, home to the yeshiva, is made up of Orthodox Jews – and they are not gay friendly, as this 2009 photo shows. These three bigots were pictured outside The New Jersey Statehouse protesting against proposed legislation legalising same-sex marriage.  (Source:AP Photo/Mel Evans)

More than half the population of Lakewood NJ, home to the yeshiva, is made up of Orthodox Jews – and they are not gay friendly, as this 2009 photo shows. These three bigots were pictured outside the New Jersey Statehouse protesting against proposed legislation legalising same-sex marriage. (Source:AP Photo/Mel Evans)

The former is seeking nearly $650,000 for technology upgrades while the yeshiva wants a whopping $10.6 million to build a new library.

Said Americans United:

Both exist to impart theology and train members of the clergy. In the case of Beth Medrash Govoha, there’s an additional wrinkle: The conservative, all-male institution does not admit women.

Some New Jersey lawmakers are wondering why institutions that serve such exclusively religious purposes and that aren’t even open to all state residents have qualified for a tax-funded windfall. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex), said:

I can’t in good conscience sit by and let public money go to schools with such exclusionary policies. It’s a violation of the state’s constitution.

Questions have been raised about whether New Jersey, under the Governor Chris Christie, followed state law in making the grants. When a newspaper filed a request under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act to get copies of the applications filed by Beth Medrash Govoha and Princeton Theological Seminary, the Christie administration turned it down.

In a letter to state officials, Oliver expressed her dismay, writing:

For the administration to suggest to the Legislature and the public that the manner in which these funds were allocated is not information we are entitled to have is as bewildering as it is unacceptable.

Americans United added:

Forcing New Jersey residents to subsidize seminaries that train people for careers in the pulpit would seem to be a clear violation of Article I. No wonder Christie and other New Jersey officials are reluctant to release these applications.

More than half the population of Lakewood NJ, home to the yeshiva, is made up of Orthodox Jews – and they are not gay friendly, as this 2009 photo shows. These three bigots were pictured outside The New Jersey Statehouse protesting against proposed legislation legalising same sex marriage.  (Source:AP Photo/Mel Evans)

20 Responses to “It’s an outrage! NJ plans to cough up millions to fund training colleges for priests and rabbis”

  1. Buffy says:

    I should be shocked, but I’m not. I am disgusted, though.

  2. Equality Jack says:

    I’ve seen so many news articles about so many orthodox Jews acting like some of the worst criminals wherever they live in the world, that another one doesn’t faze me much.
    You’d be amazed at how much crime they do, using their religion like a mafioso using shipments of olive oil as cover.
    I could almost believe that they are all secretly Muslims who infiltrated Jewish culture years ago and forgot who they really were supposed to be. So many of their rabbis are just that bad.
    This stealing the money from the American people to fund their religious fraud is beyond disgusting.
    They should be arrested and made to pay back every damn penny.

  3. barriejohn says:

    There was a priest, a rabbi, and an atheist – but it’s no joke!

  4. sailor1031 says:

    Where did New Jersey, which only a few months ago was begging with tears in its eyes for funds to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, get $1.3 billion for this? WTF? My suspicion however, is that this is federal money being put to unconstitutional use. Maybe DOJ should ask for that information?

  5. Broga says:

    I wonder about corruption within corruption. What influence was peddled, what money was passed to persuade the politicians to support this outrage?

  6. Equality Jack says:

    Apparently, they have it set up even better in Israel and soak the country while saying that as long as they keep studying the Torah and praying, Israel will remain safe and protected by pure fucking magic!

    Don’t look behind the curtain at the Iron Dome system, just look at all those lovely orthodox Jews flinging rocks and feces at little girls,…erm, no wait, don’t look at that either…here, look at the international jewel market..is that blood?..okay, look at this lovely group of Ethiopian Jews who are treated like…no, wait..here’s them giving herpes to babies by oh my god don’t look that is gross….um…well I’m not finding much to support them in the news…oh, wait, here’s a nice article about a…oh my god…nevermind…
    ..anyway it’s supposed to be magical and traditionally expensive as all fuck. We can’t pay them enough, it seems.

  7. barriejohn says:

    Equality Jack: They refuse to do the one thing that would protect their freedom, much like many fundamentalist Christians whom I know. Prayer is the most effective weapon that man possesses: it says so in the Bible!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22563978

  8. Angela_K says:

    NJ could have used the money to provide health care for the poor or fund scientific research into cures for cancer or HIV but no, they would rather spend an obscene amount of money to train and radicalise the next generation of bigots. Science is bad, ignorance is good. Stupid, stupid people.

  9. jay says:

    It’s not just Christie. NJ has a history of stuff like this.

    There was for many actually a state run Kosher inspection of food stores.

  10. Equality Jack says:

    @barriejohn – You should visit failedmessiah.com.
    There you will find hundreds of excellently documented news items showing the underside of Jewish orthodoxy.
    And, oy!, does it have an underside! The sheer massive denial of some of these people is just mind-boggling. Words. I have none.

  11. barriejohn says:

    Equality Jack: I am aware of that site. You could also search for “Orthodox Jews” on this site if you want a laugh!

    http://freethinker.co.uk/2013/04/12/plane-insane-man-wraps-himself-in-a-plastic-sheet-to-preserve-his-purity-while-flying-over-a-graveyard/comment-page-1/#comments

  12. T says:

    Lets get this straight. Religious institutions are there to make money for themselves and their hierarchies. Ok. But unlike other money making businesses they extort money from their followers and from everybody by being tax exempt and by getting their claws into government money through the action of agents they have seeded into government agencies. And what do they give back – the promise of redemption and places in heaven. It’s a con trick of the worst kind played on gullible hoards by hardened, cold, theocratic, dogmatic liars who get their kicks in the here and now from continually getting away with embezzlement and cheating.

  13. charlie says:

    Whoa! Wait a G**D*** minute here New Jersey. Here in the old US of A, governments, federal and state are cutting social services and pushing this BS austerity crapola on us all. Where, how do they get the funds for some worthless religious schools/school buildings? Federal monies? Tax payer monies? I realize the US Constitution is now reduced to a G**D*** piece of paper, but even the individual state constitutions have joined that “category”? Wow, the US of A HAS fallen farther than even I was aware.
    America, what a country. It had such promise, once upon a time. This just proves the old saying once again, how the mighty have fallen. Oh, but look out world, “we” still can nuke the hell out of all of you. “usa, usa, usa” As the moronic fools chant as they starve and die due to lack of health care. I still love America, but despise its government, federal AND state.
    And I enlisted in the Marines and fought in an imperial war, for this? Man alive, I sure WAS on dumb ass back then.

  14. Marky Mark says:

    (And I enlisted in the Marines and fought in an imperial war, for this? Man alive, I sure WAS on dumb ass back then.)
    …you weren’t the only one charlie, as a mater of fact it was honorary men like you that returned and told the rest what a bullshit war was going on. And they intern helped to end it.

    I was in 7th grade (around 68) when me and my best friend were ordered to burn some garbage in his back yard by his mother. We found stacks of letters from my friends older brother who was serving in Viet Nam. We began to read them and were shocked as they told us many things that were not being reported in the news. We first began to doubt our (USA) real intent there after that day…it was an awakening moment.

  15. Matt+Westwood says:

    @Marky Mark: The real WTF was being told by his mother to burn them. That, not to put too fine a point on it, is an act of pure evil.

  16. L.Long says:

    Muslins may be violent, Xtians may want to be a real theocracy, Jews may be largely secular, but fundy jews are just plain stupid silly crazy who think they can cheat the laws they claim came from gawd and their omni-everything sky-fairy wont know about.
    And it seems that just as in Israel they want all their learning and expenses to be paid by the gov’mint, because they are holey men, where they are just men with holes.

  17. Equality Jack says:

    It’s magical, I tell you! Magical!

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