November 14, 2011; Source: Colorado Springs GazetteGlenn Beck is the gift that keeps on giving—in more ways than one. A Colorado Springs women’s shelter says that it lost a $25,000 grant from HUD because it refused to cease mandating Bible study for the residents of Liza’s Place and Hope Home—women who are homeless and often mentally ill or addicted to drugs or alcohol. While she was in her bedroom praying, Marilyn Vyzourek, executive director of Gospel Shelters for Women, received a call from Beck’s assistant and then ended up on the air with him. “I was really excited, because I knew God’s people were going to come through,” Vyzourek told the Gazette. Vyzourek said that she has heard that her organization is about to lose yet another $25,000 grant and admitted that her organization was “down in private donations as well . . . but this will get us over the hump.”

Beck took it as one more example of government’s attack against religion, saying, “You don’t want us to talk about Jesus? What are they afraid of?” The Gazette’s editorial board expressed their agreement in an editorial titled “Glenn Beck, thank you for helping women find God”.

Of course, HUD funds plenty of faith-based groups. According to the HUD website, cited by the Christian Post, “Faith-based organizations that receive federal assistance may keep their religious name; continue to carry out religious activities; keep and display religious signs and symbols inside and outside their facilities; continue to use religion as a basis to select their board members (including members of the clergy); and otherwise govern themselves on a religious basis . . . [People who use federally funded services] should have no feeling or sense that their participation in inherently religious activities that are separate in time and/or place from HUD-funded activities, or even participation in something like prayer before a meal, is somehow required for them in order to receive HUD-funded services.”

So all HUD was saying was that mandating Bible studies on the federal nickel wasn’t the right thing to do. Vyzourek’s organization could continue to run its religious instruction programming without government money, or dispense with the mandated Bible teaching—but retain the other trappings of its faith-based origins—and receive the HUD funds. Glenn Beck’s willingness to fund Gospel Shelters is essentially a substitution of religious moneys for government moneys in respect of the governmental principles of separating church and state. Ms. Vyzourek will have an opportunity to raise more money for its religious operations when she appears on GBTV (you know what the initials mean) in response to an invitation from the man himself.—Rick Cohen