Religious organizations, mostly Christians, with ties to President Trump and Vice President Pence, received billions of dollars in pandemic aid from the Small Business Administration, says the long-awaited government data released in the first week of July. They include a Dallas mega Church whose pastor is an ally of the President. These religious groups played a key role in Trump’s election in 2016. The First Baptist Church in Dallas, where the vice president spoke in June 2020 received a $2-5 million loan.
The government approved loans of $150,000 and up to over 800,000 groups. In the $5 million-$10 million loan bracket are the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino, California, and Willow Creek Community Church Inc. in Illinois. Both these religious groups had faced investigation in the past for violating the law.
More than 100 Muslim organizations received $150,000 plus from the government. Some of these Muslim organizations include Islamic Relief, Islamic Circle of North America, CAIR, MPAC, MCC, Muslim Advocates, Islamic Society of Tempe, American Islamic Center, Detroit, Islamic Society of Orange County, Islamic Center of Southern California and Jesus Mosque.
Over 300 Jewish Temples received the money. A large number of Hindu organizations and Temples also received the PPP. Among the Hindu recipients is the Hindu Foundation, an organization that reportedly supports the RSS, a Hindutva fascist group in India accused of orchestrating violence against Christians and Muslims. However, the bulk of the grant went to evangelical churches closer to the Republicans.
The government launched the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on April 3. It allowed small businesses and nonprofits and individuals to apply for forgivable loans. Allowing religious institutions to qualify for the loan violates the American tradition of a separation between the state and the church.
The loan amount ranges are as follows: • $150,000-350,000 • $350,000-1 million • $1-2 million • $2-5 million • $5-10 million
They account for nearly 75 percent of the loan dollars approved.