Tennessee Town Turns Down Ministry Funding

A Tennessee faith-based group has withdrawn its request to receive $8,000 in government funds after the appeal became the subject of a heated debate.

The Farragut Board of Aldermen was split on whether public funds should assist Feeding God’s Children, a ministry affiliated with Two Rivers Church in Lenoir City, Tenn. The group provides food and other assistance to children in Appalachia and Guatemala, and although recipients and volunteers don’t have to be “believers,” evangelism is part of the group’s mission.

“We want to tell them about Jesus because we know that changes their lives permanently,” said Sid Kemp, spokesman for the group.

According to the Farragut Press, the ministry asked for funds to buy a tow-behind grill for use at fund-raisers and events.

Vice Mayor Dot LaMarsh thought the city should make the contribution. But Aldermen Bob Markli and John Williams questioned whether tax funds should be spent on faith-based organizations.

“This is a ministry,” said Markli. “How do we determine which ministries to donate to?”

Williams said questions would be raised if the city approved a donation to one religious group but not another.

“What a quagmire that would be,” he said.

After listening to the discussion, Kemp withdrew his request.