Republicans in the House of Representatives are demanding a briefing on a State Department grant program made available to groups supporting atheists and humanists.
The Biden administration announced in April 2021 that the State Department would distribute grants of $500,000 to groups in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central and South Asia dedicated to “combat[ing] discrimination, harassment and abuses against atheist, humanist, non-practicing and non-affiliated individuals of all religious communities by strengthening networks among these communities and providing organizational training and resources.” Republicans previously argued that providing money to “religiously-identifiable” groups would be unconstitutional in the U.S. and requested a breakdown of the program’s expenditures.
“Americans deserve to know why the State Department is committed to spreading atheism abroad, and which foreign, anti–religious groups are receiving their tax dollars,” 18 members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), led by Chairman Jim Banks, wrote Tuesday to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a letter obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller.
“We would also like to request a phone briefing from the Acting Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Lisa Peterson to Republican Study Committee (RSC) members and staff as soon as possible to discuss our grave concerns with regard to this grant program,” they added.
Read the letter here:
A spokesperson for the State Department did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.
Republicans have repeatedly expressed concern that the Biden administration is promoting left-wing cultural initiatives with foreign policy dollars. Notably, the federal government spent nearly $800 billion on gender equality programs in Afghanistan since 2002, despite inspector general reports finding that the programs were failing due to “sociocultural norms.” The State Department appointed a Special Representative for Racial Equity and Justice on June 17, with the goal of ensuring that racial equity is a part of all foreign policy initiatives.
Biden requested $2.6 billion as part of the FY2023 Budget for programs designed to promote gender equality worldwide. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: State Department Prepares To Announce Worldwide Racial Equity Chief, Leaked Email Shows)
“The Biden State Department is hiding the extent of its woke radicalism. Their inexcusable support for atheist groups in Central Asia puts them in league with the Chinese Communist Party and violates Americans’ core principles. When Republicans retake the majority, we need to stop the radical left from spending Americans’ tax dollars on anti-American initiatives,” Banks told the Daily Caller.