Does it take an atheist to teach Baptists about their own heritage?

Apparently so.

Atheist activist Rob Sherman has filed a lawsuit in Illinois state court seeking to block a $1 million government grant to Pilgrim Baptist Church. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Gov. Rod Blagojevich promised the money to the Chicago congregation after a fire damaged the church building.

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Critic of state money for church gets green light from court


July 25, 2008 8:44 PM ET

CHICAGO (AP) - A Sangamon County judge has given the green light for a lawsuit to proceed geared to block a $1 million state grant for a historic Chicago church ravaged by fire.

After the fire, Gov. Rod Blagojevich promised a $1 million state grant to help rebuild Pilgrim Baptist Church, a historic landmark on Chicago's South Side.

Then outspoken atheist Rob Sherman complained that the grant would violate the separation between church and state. The funding was then diverted a school that rented space from the church.

The state has approved another $1 million grant to the church to be used for secular purposes.

But Sherman objects to that. He says any grant of taxpayer money to a church violates the Illinois Constitution.

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