As for Pilgrim Baptist Church, [Governor] Blagojevich insists they will still get their money. However, atheist activist Rob Sherman is suing to prevent the church from getting the money, saying the pledge violates the separation of church and state.
"You can't force citizens to support a particular church," Sherman said.
"We all know Rod did this two months before his primary election victory over Edwin Eisendrath. January 2006, when the fire happens, and he's in the March primary against Eisendrath, Rod was pandering for black votes. I understand that. But you can't have the state donating $1 million to a church. You can't do that with tax dollars."
A spokeswoman for the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity says the pledge is legal because the church hosts nonreligious community activites: "The grant to Pilgrim Baptist Church is constitutional and proper. It has a clear secular purpose -- the construction of a community center that will house social programs open to the public regardless of religious affiliation or ability to pay."