For Immediate Release
Obama Should Stick to Constitutional Principles on Faith Based Programs
WASHINGTON - President Obama today announced that he will create a White House
Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, but did not use the same
opportunity to rescind the Bush-administration policy making it legal for
recipients of faith-based funding to discriminate in providing services.
News reports indicated that he would ask the Justice Department to review the
policy which allows those same organizations to discriminate in hiring.
People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert issued the
"During the campaign, President Obama made clear that
religious organizations that receive federal money should not
discriminate. We strongly support that principle, but it's
disappointing that today President Obama has missed an opportunity to put it
into practice immediately.
"It's not about left or right: it's about
upholding the Constitution. If churches accept federal funds, it's
deeply inappropriate for them to discriminate on the basis of religion in their
hiring. It's unconstitutional for federal money to support programs
that only benefit those who profess a particular faith.
"President Obama needs to make good on his campaign promise
that tax dollars aren't used to unconstitutionally discriminate on the
basis of religion. Too often, religious discrimination is used as a proxy
for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, race, and gender.
People For is committed to ensuring justice and equality for all, and I look
forward to working with the Obama Administration to correct this
People For the American Way is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way. Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life. Our America respects diversity, nurtures creativity and combats hatred and bigotry.