Religious Organizations Account For Up To $7.3B Of PPP Loans
Reuters reports that Small Business Administration data released on July 6 shows that “tens of thousands” of religious organizations received COVID-19 relief loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.
The 88,840 small business loans to religious organizations are worth up to $7.3 billion. The Paycheck Protection Program allows individuals, small profits, and nonprofits—including religious organizations—to apply for forgivable government-funded loans. Religious organizations account for more than 1 million of the 51.1 million jobs protected by Paycheck Protection.
Critics of the Paycheck Protection Program, such as Alison Gill, vice president of legal and policy at religious equality watchdog American Atheists, assert that the religious organization allowance is unconstitutional and that “no one should be forced to be taxed to propagate the religious ideas of another person.”
However, the Supreme Court has frequently ruled that “disqualifying otherwise eligible recipients from a public benefit solely because of their religious character imposes a penalty on the free exercise of religion,” Holland and Knight Law explains. For example, the Court so ruled in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue on June 30.