End Faith-Based Employment Discrimination Now!

One day after the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties held a hearing on “Faith Based Initiatives: Recommendations of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Community Partnerships and Other Current Issues”, four congressmen condemned Attorney General Eric Holder for not sending an Obama Administration representative to the hearing as requested. 

Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D - MI),  Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar  Smith (R - TX), Subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D - NY), and Subcommittee Ranking Member F. James Sensenbrenner (R - WI) called the absence “inexcusable”, and stated that the U.S. Department of Justice’s failure to make clear a position about whether religious organizations may make religion-based employment decisions while receiving federal funds is “unacceptable” and “flatly inconsistent with the President’s pledge of greater transparency.” 

The Congressmen declared that follow-up hearing would be held on or after December 2, 2010 and requested that Attorney General Holder to send a representative to this hearing.  You can read the entire letter here.

The issue of religious discrimination in hiring for faith-based organizations receiving federal funds is a concern for the Secular Coalition for America and its members.  People are fired or denied employment from federally funded religious institutions each year for failing to subscribe to a particular religious faith.  In today’s tough economy, this means that in some cases people must choose whether to lie about their religious or nonreligious beliefs in order to get a job or risk losing their an existing job—while these organizations receive millions of your federal tax dollars. 

Please tell Attorney General Holder it is unacceptable for religious institutions that accept federal dollars to be allowed to discriminate in hiring based on religious preferences. Urge Attorney General Holder to send a representative to the follow-up Subcommittee Hearing and fully explain why the Obama Administration believes religious institutions providing social services—not religious services—deserve special treatment and exemption from discriminatory hiring prohibitions. Please make your voice heard before the new year and email Attorney General Holder.

Below is the text the Secular Coalition sent to Attorney General Holder:

Dear Attorney General Holder:

I believe it is unacceptable for faith-based organizations that receive federal funds to provide social services to be able to discriminate in hiring based on religious preferences. No one should be denied the opportunity to help others because of his or her religious or nonreligious beliefs if the person believes in the social mission of the organization—religious or secular. 

Faith-based organizations do not have to accept federal dollars in order to provide social services, but if they do, they should be willing to follow federal policies and not discriminate in any way against those who seek employment in the social mission of the organization. 

Please accept the invitation of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties to send a representative to the follow-up hearing in order to answer questions about the Obama Administration’s policy regarding religious discrimination in hiring by faith-based organizations that receive federal funds.

Thank you for standing up for all Americans, regardless of religious or nonreligious beliefs.

Sincerely,

Secular Coalition for America

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