WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The alleged funding of atheism promotion in Nepal by the Biden administration has ignited a contentious debate, culminating in a Congressional showdown. Republican Congressman Brian Mast, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability, confronted Deputy Secretary of State Richard R. Verma over claims of a half-million-dollar grant aimed at promoting atheism in the Himalayan nation.

The confrontation unfolded during Verma’s testimony before the subcommittee on March 21, as it assessed the State Department’s compliance with oversight. Mast pointed to specific language in grant documents suggesting funding for atheism promotion, while Verma denied the existence of such a grant, stating it would not be appropriate to promote any religion or non-religion using taxpayer money.

The controversy underscores broader concerns about transparency and accountability in government spending, especially regarding sensitive issues like religion and belief systems. It also raises questions about the U.S. role in promoting religious freedom globally.

The allegations could potentially strain diplomatic relations between the United States and Nepal, particularly amid growing calls for restoring Hinduism as the state religion in Nepal. Such allegations could be interpreted as external interference in Nepal’s internal affairs and its religious landscape, raising questions about sovereignty and self-determination.