Congress shall make no law: Obama to restrict religious freedoms of non-profits

We recently posted an article by Tom Del Becarro from his Political Vanguard site on “What if Obama Wins?” As for faith-based organizations providing federally-financed social services Sen. Obama goes medieval. According to Greg Baylor, Obama will “require the federal government’s FBO partners to follow Title VII and other federal anti-discrimination requirements. But the details of his plan are different than this. Title VII forbids religious job discrimination by secular organizations but includes an exemption so that faith-based organizations can make employment decisions that reflect their religious commitments. This general federal freedom is restricted in some federal programs, and some state and local governments also restrict it. But the general federal rule is that FBOs receiving federal funds retain their religious staffing freedom.”

This is especially onerous when individuals seeking assistance are choosing the service provider of their choice and spending the federal voucher through choice not by government fiat. No one is “forced” to attend some Christian-identity drug rehab like they are forced to attend some government-run school or have to pay extra for a qualified and educationally certified elementary or secondary school of their choice. While they are working hard on freedom of choice in pre-school, at this writing, the teacher unions hold no sway over colleges as these still have some freedoms ala the GI and Pell Grants to accept government vouchers from individuals selecting the educational product and services of choice.

When Congress makes a law that chooses one worldview over another to be the “only” legitimate worldview to participate in the public square—that is Establishment of Religion and a clear violation of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights that Constitutionally limit the power of government to nullify the rights of the people and States: Congress shall make no law.

Baylor continues…”Sen. Obama would create an unprecedented new restriction: every FBO that accepts federal funds would be stripped of its religious staffing freedom when it comes to hiring people to run the federally funded program. There has never been such a sweeping restriction in the past. Some FBOs may find this restriction acceptable. Others will find it intolerable and will be forced to walk away from partnerships with government agencies that award federal funds.

“Some powerful forces would like to restrict religious staffing even further. There is no doubt that this is an unpopular freedom for many people. But unpopular doesn’t mean unimportant.

“Faith-based organizations, faith community leaders, and advocates of religious freedom should ask Senator Obama to revisit his guidelines and reject proposals that force faith-based organizations to suppress their religious identity.”

Congress shall make no law.

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Comments

  1. Edi Birsan says

    This article turns the concept of separation of Church and State on its head.

    1. Government money that is to be used by an organization- ANY organization should not be allowed to pick people to administer that program based on their religion. We are not providing money so that the Islamic Crusaders of Right Handed Fundamentalist can pad the soup kitchen paid to work rolls with similar minded peoples disregarding those of the same skill but of different religions.

    2. As for the issue of Congressman Miller being forced to hire someone of Pro life concern for his Chief of Staff, is not the same as a religious issue under Federal Law. However, I suspect that when you look at the hiring laws in California you would not be able to discriminate against someone because of their views on the subject.

  2. says

    McCain announces support for religious staffing

    http://cpjustice.org/content/equal-treatment-0

    For Immediate Release
    July 2, 2008 Contact: Press Office
    703-650-5550
    Statement By McCain Campaign On Faith Based Initiatives

    ARLINGTON, VA – U.S. Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign today released the following statement from campaign spokesman Brian Rogers on faith based initiatives:

    “John McCain supports faith based initiatives, and recognizes their important role in our communities. He has co-sponsored legislation to foster improved partnerships with community organizations, including faith-based organizations, to assist with substance abuse and violence prevention. He also believes that it is important for faith-based groups to be able to hire people who share their faith, and he disagrees with Senator Obama that hiring at faith-based groups should be subject to government oversight.”

  3. says

    To The Editor:

    Barack Obama and George W. Bush are wrong to promote any government involvement in religion.

    If government and religion joins forces, government will invariably become the senior partner, dictating terms to religion.

    For example, some government bureaucrat might threaten to cut off aid to a Roman Catholic school because the church forbids women from becoming priests. The government might try to impose the Trinity on people even though some religious groups do not accept the trinity.

    To ensure freedom of worship, government and religion must say out of each other’s way.

    Richard Colman
    Orinda, CA

    ~ EDITOR REPLIES — Exactly Richard, government should make no law respecting establishment or free exercise. Obama has no business overturning the First Amendment or established language of the Civil Rights Act Title VII that protects non-profit from government interference in staffing for delivery of services that are chosen by the “customer.” It would be tantamount to passing a law that compels George Miller to hire a right-to-lifer as chief of staff. For the state to say it’s OK for some worldview to participate freely in the Public Square and discriminate against others, whether religious or secular, is exactly the nightmare you describe above.