U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary Ben Carson has hit back at two atheist organizations that have sued him and his department over their participation in a Bible study in the White House held by members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet.
The lawsuit was filed by atheist groups Freedom From Religion Foundation and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington after HUD refused to waive the fees charged to them for their Freedom of Information Act requests. The two organizations wanted to know if the weekly Bible study in the White House used government resources and if any of the participants had been obligated into taking part in the gatherings, The Blaze detailed.
Aside from Carson, the other officials who joined the Bible studies are Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Agriculture Secretary Sunny Perdue.
In response to FFRF and CREW’s allegations, Carson posted a statement on Facebook denying the use of any taxpayer funds in the Bible study. He also defiantly declared that he would not be pressured by “anti-religious groups” that were allegedly pushing him to reject his religious beliefs.
“I will not stop being a Christian while in service to this country, in fact, it is my faith that helps me serve the nation even better,” Carson’s Facebook post said in part. “The relentless attacks on the spirituality of our nation must be resisted. We are not like everyone else, which is precisely the reason that we rose so rapidly from obscurity to become the most powerful and free nation in history.”
Meanwhile, First Baptist Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress criticized the attacks on the Bible study in the White House. In a statement, he said these groups found the idea of having members of Trump’s cabinet who believe and trust in God hard to accept, The Christian Post detailed.
Moreover, Dr. Jeffress asserted that government officials were not obligated to give up their right to the free exercise of religion. He said attacks such as the FFRF lawsuit were only attempts to silence their practice of their faith.