Obama Administration Gives Free Pass for Faith-Based Groups to Discriminate
Here’s one of the things I do not like about the Obama administration. Faith based initiatives have fed from our tax dollars while discriminating against U.S. Citizens for far too long. If you want to protect your freedom to fundamentally hate, then you need to stop asking for tax dollars to further your hate and discrimination with.
Recent disclosures by the Department of Justice reveal that the Obama administration has continued a policy, first put in place by the Office of Legal Counsel in the Bush Justice Department, of granting faith-based recipients of taxpayer dollars certificates of exemption from federal laws prohibiting religious discrimination in employment by such organizations receiving federal funds.
The latest development in a long-simmering standoff between the administration and civil liberties groups is the American Civil Liberties Union’s Freedom of Information Act request, submitted this week to the Department of Justice, seeking greater detail about the faith-based organizations that have received such certificates of exemption, and the circumstances under which these certificates are granted. Until recently, the disclosures from the Obama administration about what it has called a “case-by-case” review have failed to make clear that the granting of certificates of exemption to faith-based grantees who requested them has remained administration policy. Rather, the administration has responded to calls from civil liberties groups for transparency on the issue with silence and confusion.
Since President Barack Obama launched his Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships shortly after taking office in 2009, the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination (CARD) has been assiduously asking the administration a simple question: why are faith-based organizations that receive taxpayer money permitted to discriminate based on religion in hiring, and under what circumstances? For over three years, CARD members have remained frustrated not only with the refusal to change the policy, but the administration’s unwillingness to explain exactly how the policy is being implemented. Last year, at a townhall at the University of Maryland, Obama himself would not explain the policy, saying only, “I think that the balance we tried to strike is to say that if you have set up a nonprofit that is disassociated from your core religious functions and is out there in the public doing all kinds of work, you have to abide generally with the nondiscrimination hiring practices. On the other hand, if it’s closer to your core functions… then you might have more leeway to hire someone who is of that religious faith. […] I think we’ve struck the right balance so far.”