U.S. Government Says OK To Religious Discrimination

As Charlie Savage reported in yesterday’s edition of The New York Times, the Department of Justice had approved a million-dollar-plus grant to an organization that will only hire Christians, effectively supporting religious discrimination.

The 25-page document, which was issued in 2007, only became available on the DOJ’s website this week. You can read it here (PDF).

Here’s what the document says:

You have asked whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) — which prohibits the Government from “substantially burden[ing]” religious exercise unless that burden “is the least restrictive means of furthering [a] compelling governmental interest”… requires OJP to exempt World Vision from the religious nondiscrimination provision. We conclude that RFRA is reasonably construed to require that such an accommodation be made for World Vision, and that OJP would be within its legal discretion, under the JJDPA and under RFRA, to exempt World Vision from the religious nondiscrimination requirement of section 3789d(c)(1).

Here is that paragraph translated into English:

The document signed off on a $1.5 million grant to World Vision, a group that hires only Christians, for salaries of staff members running a program that helps “at-risk youth” avoid gangs. The grant was from a Justice Department program created by a statute that forbids discriminatory hiring for the positions it is financing.

But the memorandum said the government could bypass those provisions because of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It sometimes permits exceptions to a federal law if obeying it would impose a “substantial burden” on people’s ability to freely exercise their religion. The opinion concluded that requiring World Vision to hire non-Christians as a condition of the grant would create such a burden.

World Vision was given the right to fire or not hire anyone who is seen as a non-Christian — atheists, gays, liberals, etc. All with taxpayer money.

It just furthers the idea that our current government cares little for our Constitution and only tolerates the Christian faith:

Barry Lynn, president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said he hoped the opinion would not stand. “The Bush administration has been trying to allow religious recipients of tax dollars to discriminate in hiring,” he said. “No Congress intended that. The Constitution does not permit it. And this memo is just one more example of this administration subverting Congressional and constitutional intent in pursuit of a forbidden goal: discrimination in hiring.”

While Barack Obama and John McCain both support faith-based programs, the NYT article states: “Obama has also said taxpayer money should not go to programs that discriminate by faith in hiring, a condition Mr. McCain has not embraced.”

The election’s two weeks away. Vote for Obama. And if you live in a swing state you sure as hell better get your friends to join you.

(Thanks to Jeff for the link!)

  • PrimeNumbers

    Disgusting, but what do you expect from people who’s morals are “be good because otherwise I’ll go to hell”.

  • Vincent

    otherwise known as “be good because someone is watching.”
    A.K.A. if no-one is watching then all bets off, or it’s only wrong if you get caught.

    Incidentally that’s the exact same moral level my cat has.

  • http://www.myspace.com/theonlyfontainemusic Matthew T.

    This makes me upset.

  • Richard Wade

    So, using World Vision’s exemption as a precedent, could a Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Rastafarian or atheist organization that similarly discriminates in hiring apply for federal grants?

  • Michael

    I could be wrong, but isn’t this how Faith-Based Initiatives work right now?

    If so, what’s different about this case?

  • http://maxhavok.blogspot.com/ Jason

    Oh come on now, this is ridiculous.
    First you have the asshats preaching politics from the pulpit, now stuff like this. this is frightening.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/ElusiveAnole Matt

    Tax payer funded discrimination… Hurray!

  • Pingback: Crutch Of The Weak » U.S. Government Says OK To Religious Discrimination

  • T’s Grammy

    Why am I not surprised?

  • http://bit.ly/danny Danny

    This sucks. I used to sponsor a child’s education through World Vision and thought they, while christian, would not have a problem with those of other faiths. I guess I’ll have to support another charity.

  • ChameleonDave

    We’ve just cancelled our sponsorship of a child through World Vision because we’re short of money at the moment. Had I known about this, I would have made sure they knew they were losing a donor for life because of their disgusting discrimination. There are plenty of respectable charities out there.


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