Religious Groups Receiving Federal Funds Want to Discriminate

More than 100 religious groups are whining because new legislation may “prohibit them from receiving federal money if they consider a job applicant’s religion when hiring.”

Cry me a fucking river.

“Those four lines in the legislation would be a seismic change in bedrock civil rights law for religious organizations,” said Steven McFarland, chief legal counsel at World Vision USA, a Christian aid organization that is leading the protest. “The impact would be huge and severely affect our ability to help children and others in need.”

No, it wouldn’t. Believe it or not, non-Christians also want to help children and others in need.

If you don’t want to hire those people, that’s your decision. But if you want to discriminate, then federal money shouldn’t be supporting your group.

At least some groups have the sense to support this legislation:

The Coalition Against Religious Discrimination, whose members include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Hindu American Foundation and the N.A.A.C.P., has been pushing Congress to eliminate charitable choice altogether for many years, and it said the pending bill did not go far enough.

It doesn’t go far enough at all. There’s no reason religious groups should be getting federal money at all. But if they’re going to use it to provide social services, they certainly shouldn’t be allowed to enforce their religious views in the process.

  • Pseudonym

    There’s no reason religious groups should be getting federal money at all.

    If the government is giving money to charities, then merely being religious shouldn’t be a barrier. To discriminate against a religious group just because they’re religious would violate separation of church and state.
    Of course, discriminating a group because they practice discriminatory hiring is an entirely different matter, and I’m glad the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination is objecting.

  • Shanti

    …uhmmmm…can you say “Boy Scouts of America”? They discriminate against homosexuals, have a religious agenda (it is totally a mormon stronghold), and still reap all the breaks from the federal government. It makes me sick that they have been granted a pass on ALL accountability!

  • Erp

    Actually the BSA has lost a certain amount of government support and are increasingly being held accountable. Also a fair bit of the influence has been conservative Christian not just Mormons. Note they discriminate invidiously not just in who they hire but also in who they serve.

  • http://cafeeine.wordpress.com Cafeeine

    Good work, this legislation, hope it gets through.

    Also, on an unrelated note..

    Coalition Against Religious Discrimination

    What a CARD those guys are…

  • http://danialexisblog.wordpress.com Dani

    “The impact would be huge and severely affect our ability to help children and others in need.”

    If by “help children and others in need” they mean “expose children and others to our particular religious views,” I believe them completely.

    Otherwise, it’s time they built a bridge and got over it. This whining is wasting valuable helping-children-and-others time.

  • muggle

    If the government is giving money to charities, then merely being religious shouldn’t be a barrier. To discriminate against a religious group just because they’re religious would violate separation of church and state.

    I disagree — strenously. What’s unconstitutional is one red cent of my tax dollars going to support a religious organization. Part of church-state separation is no one being forced to financially support a religion not their own. When tax dollars go to religious charities, they force me to support a religion not my own. It’s not discrimination to exclude them from charitable tax dollars. It’s protecting the individual’s right to choose not to support them.

    I’m with Hemant. This is great if it goes through but it doesn’t go far enough.

  • Danny wuvs kittens

    Yay! Hemant said fucking!

    This is also some good legislation. Goverment charity money either needs to go to groups that care about helping people, or groups that may have been founded with evangelical principles, but are now 100% focused on helping people.

    When I was younger, I was involved with a group called “World Changers”. Its basically a missionary program for teenagers. They go and repair houses for people who couldn’t normally afford it. Churches persuade the teenagers to sign up, and then they do dozens of fundraisers for the 15,000+ trip, and then pack everybody on a bus and drive HUNDREDS OF MILES to the mission site. One time the bus ride lasted over 15 hours, and that’s with very little breaks.

    Once they arrive, there’s kind of an orientation, etc.

    They make it clear from the start that publicity is their primary concern. “We aren’t here to fix houses, we’re here to spread the love of Jesus”.

    Every night on the trip there is a 3 hour long worship. There’s also a 15 minute worship in the afternoon, and a 15 minute worship in the morning.

    All this while kids(including girls) as young as 13 are going to bed at midnight and waking up at 5:45 in the morning, so they can work all day in the hottest part of the summer for drug addicts, or people who have houses they simply just can’t afford.

    The labor was grueling, for me. I grew up on a farm, and people commented all the time how tough and hardworking I was. That didn’t make the work any easier. People were getting sick all over the place. EVERYONE had small injuries. Bruises, cuts, splinters, sunburn. Lots of the younger kids, who had never been on a trip like this before, had forgotten stuff, or lost it, or didn’t know their way around. Bullying was all over the place. Everyone’s blood was boiling. Best friends were treating each other like shit. The chaperons were constantly yelling at the kids. It was a fucking hellhole.

    Everybody told me it would be fun. That’s what we all heard. Hell, the second time I went, I knew it would be hell, but I thought I was supposed to have fun helping people, so I pretended it was. I encouraged people who hadn’t been there before that it was fun, because I thought it was supposed to be. I thought something was wrong with me for realizing it was hell.

    We didn’t do that much, really, to help people anyway. It was just an excuse to evangelize. We painted houses, replaced shingles, maybe fixed some drywall. Not a big deal considering the people had to wait for SIX MONTHS to get the repairs, because we had to do so many fundraisers, bleeding the shit out of the congregation members.

    If I(or any atheist) started a charity, it would be run a lot different. It would be run like a business. There would be limits to child labor. It would be local; no spending thousands of dollars on gas, as well as making accommodations on sleep, food, supplies, etc. If its local, people drive 15 minutes max in their cars, and bring a lunch. That saves thousands of dollars that can be used for other things. There wouldn’t be any evangelism; you want to be a missionary, then be a missionary, you want to be a volunteer, then you volunteer. No more of this hybrid bullshit.

  • http://lizelotte.blogspot.com Liselotte

    “Cry me a fucking river” … LOOOOOOOOL …. never heard it like that before :D

    Its right up there with boo-fucking-hoo, I guess :)

  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    They shouldn’t be getting federal money to begin with. They’re religious groups, and as such they discriminate, they push their mythology along with their charity, and they don’t get a fraction of the oversight secular groups do (if there’s any government oversight at all). Why should our tax dollars pay for that?

  • http://yamipirogoeth.blogspot.com/ Sakura

    “The impact would be huge and severely affect our ability to help children and others in need.”

    >_> It’s funny they say that, I’ve seen that a lot of these xian child fund places pocket most of the money and only send several cents on the dollar to helping the kids…it’s just as disgusting as them using social services to push their religion.

  • Entropist

    “The impact would be huge and severely affect our ability to help children and others in need.”

    Wow. How’s that for ironic statement of the century? What was it that the Catholic church did in Washington DC recently regarding gay adoptive couples…?

  • Pseudonym

    muggle:

    I disagree — strenously. What’s unconstitutional is one red cent of my tax dollars going to support a religious organization. Part of church-state separation is no one being forced to financially support a religion not their own. When tax dollars go to religious charities, they force me to support a religion not my own. It’s not discrimination to exclude them from charitable tax dollars. It’s protecting the individual’s right to choose not to support them.

    Discriminating against organisations just because they’re religious is picking a side, which is what the government is not allowed to do.

    Now let me be clear: I’m not arguing that “faith-based initiatives” are a good thing. I’m not arguing that tax money should to go anything that even marginally looks like evangelism. There are rules attached to government money, and any organisation which accepts said money should play by those rules. But if the only difference between organisation A and organisation B is that organisation A is owned by a church and organisation B is not, that is not sufficient reason for organisation A being discriminated against.

    If there are other reasons, such as that organisation A discriminates in hiring, then that’s a separate issue.

    This is all very hypothetical, so let me use a real example.

    Where I live in Australia, some social welfare has been outsourced. For example, the government used to run an employment agency specifically for the long-term unemployed.

    If you’re curious why the government had an employment agency, it’s because the government also pays money to the unemployed to assist them in finding work. If you agree that this is a reasonable thing for the government to do, it follows that the government has a legitimate interesting in getting unemployed people back to work as soon as they can. The advantage to businesses who want to hire is that the fees are far lower.

    This agency was replaced a few years ago by a network of private agencies which put in tenders to be part of that network. Those agencies get a government subsidy and a supply of people who in theory want to work.

    A few of these agencies are run by religious organisations, such as the Salvation Army. Such organisations believe themselves to be in the business of helping the needy, and the long-term unemployed are indeed needy, and furthermore think they can do it more efficiently because they don’t have shareholders and don’t have to return a profit to anyone.

    There are, of course, a bunch of regulations on these agencies. They can’t take government money and then say “no gay employees”. They’re probably explicitly banned from evangelising. They probably have to allow themselves to be audited. I don’t know what all the rules are, but we can assume that they are all quite reasonable and relevant to the legitimate secular purpose of using government money to get unemployed people back to work.

    Now: Why shouldn’t a church-run organisation be allowed to bid like anyone else? If they can do as good a job, perhaps even better than commercial agencies since they don’t have to make a profit, and if they are willing to play by the rules, what’s the problem?

  • Allyson

    Is there a full list available somewhere of all the organizations that signed this letter? I’d like to be damn sure none of them ever see a penny of my money.

  • Dan W

    “The impact would be huge and severely affect our ability to help children and others in need.” Bullshit. It would affect their ability to indoctrinate the people they are helping with their religious beliefs, though. That’s why these groups have a problem with this legislation, plain and simple.

    Let them whine all they want. Meanwhile it’d be nice if the government would stop giving money to these religious groups. And while they’re at it maybe Obama could get rid of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives or whatever the hell he’s calling it now.

  • muggle

    No, Pseudonym, it’s not picking a side to deny tax payer dollars to religious organization. Bottom line is no one should be forced to support a religion not their own. Point blank.

    These shits promote hatred against me. Why should I be forced to fund that?

    Charities, like churches, should stand or fail on their own without public assistance. I support government charity — within reason — such as welfare, food stamps and Medicaid, but why is the government even in the business of funding even partially charities, religious or otherwise?

  • Pseudonym

    muggle:

    If your argument is a Libertarian one, that government shouldn’t be in the business of, to use my real example once again, spending money on getting the long-term unemployed back to work, then that’s one thing. I disagree, but it makes a certain amount of sense.

    But while the government is in that business, and the model chosen is to outsource, and there are organisations willing to do it and behave appropriately while doing so, then it would be a severe violation of the establishment clause to say “you can’t do it because you’re religious”. It is more or less directly equivalent to a charity saying “we won’t help you because you’re gay”. Only it would be much worse because it would be the government doing the discrimination rather than a private entity. That makes no sense.

    In my real example, I’m not talking about “government supporting a religion”, I’m talking about “government outsourcing to private entities, without regard to whether or not they’re religious”.

    Of course, once again, the money has to be spent 100% on a secular purpose. If it really was being used for evangelism, that would be like a charity saying “we won’t give you assistance because you’re just going to spend the money on drugs”, which may be well reasonable depending on the nature of the charity.

  • muggle

    No, even if the government gives to charities — which I don’t think it should — it shouldn’t give to religion because I am not supposed to be forced to support a religion not my own. That’s unconstitutional. Even where it’s charitable arm doesn’t preach etc. and is separated out, it’s still supporting the organization as a whole and that I most strenuously object to.

    To act like religions aren’t different than other charities is absurd. By your argument, the government should support religious schools because they fund public schools.

  • Pseudonym

    I do realise that the US education system is severely broken, partly because it’s funded and managed at the local level by elected local politicians rather than at a higher level (e.g. the state level) by holders of public office who at least in theory have some expertise in education.

    Nonetheless, what you consider “absurd” is standard operating procedure in most developed countries. Here in Australia (because it’s the system I know), education is compulsory up to a certain age, and so the government funds students. Every student from 4 year old preschool up gets a government subsidy regardless of where their parents choose to send them. Of course, the school must follow state curriculum and other standards.

    Incidentally, I have no idea where you get the idea that this is unconstitutional. The so-called “Lemon test” is still the gold standard, and it does not prohibit all government money going to any religious organisation under all circumstances.


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