Acton Institute Powerblog

Faith Groups Urge Congress to Preserve Religious Hiring Rights

Share this article:
Join the Discussion:

From an Aug. 26 Christian Post story. (HT: Mirror of Justice):

More than 100 religious organizations are urging members of Congress to reject pending legislation that would prohibit them from considering religion when hiring.

A letter – endorsed by such groups as World Vision, Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, U.S. conference of Catholic Bishops, and Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – was delivered Wednesday.

“The law has long protected the religious freedom of both the people who receive government-funded services, and the groups that provide the services – long before President Obama, and long before President Bush,” said Anthony R. Picarello Jr., general counsel of USCCB, in a statement. “Stripping away the religious hiring rights of religious service providers violates the principle of religious freedom, and represents bad practice in the delivery of social services.”

The groups are protesting a provision in HR 5466 – a bill introduce in the House in May that would reauthorize federal substance abuse treatment funding that is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Sponsored by Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), the bill includes language banning faith-based groups from receiving federal funds if they consider religion in their hiring process.

John Couretas John Couretas is Director of Communications, responsible for print and online communications at the Acton Institute. He has more than 20 years of experience in news and publishing fields. He has worked as a staff writer on newspapers and magazines, covering business and government. John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Humanities from Michigan State University and a Master of Science Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.


  • Patrick

    Freedom of Association appears to be under attack here. There is a loss of freedom to religious or, perhaps, non-religious or even sexual orientations in employee selection.

    On the other hand, Alcoholics Anonymous has been “self supporting through our own efforts” from near the date of its founding, after reflecting on some bad experiences in deviating from its singleness of purpose.

    I believe the Salvation Army has some restrictions on receiving federal funds. Both of these organizations have admirable records for successes in their areas of concern and remain focused on their reason for being.

    In my never too humble opinion, the relevant question is “Why is the Federal Government funding substance abuse programs at all?” Or “Are religious organizations addicted to federal funding?”

  • Jerome McCollom

    They have no right to receive federal funds. If a religious group wants to stand behind their religious beliefs and not hire someone based on religion, then don’t hire ask for the funds.