I am on a number of email lists, including that of the Interfaith Alliance, a "non-partisan" separationist organization. Today I received a message urging me to contact my member of Congress (yeah, right; Cynthia McKinney is just dying to hear from me) to head off a major roll-back of civil rights in H.R. 27, "The Job Training Improvement Act." The problem? A co-religionist hiring exemption, enabling faith-based organizations to take fidelity to their religious mission into account when they hire. According to TIA:
Simply put, this Bill allows religious organizations receiving federal tax dollars for their job training programs to discriminate based on religion when hiring staff.
This represents a dramatic shift in government policy towards religion as it repeals longstanding civil rights protections which have traditionally protected people of faith and goodwill from religious employment discrimination in federally funded job training programs.
I beg to differ. It is not a dramatic shift, as faith-based organizations have long been permitted a co-religionist hiring exemption, even in government-funded programs, where it is (of course) not a matter of constitutional right, but rather of legislative grace, warranted (I would argue) by respect for religious freedom and diversity. If you want to read more about this issue, I can point you to two pdf documents:
here’s a long e-book from the Center for Public Justice and here’s a much shorter White House booklet.
For an article on the debate surrounding the measure, go here.
Folks in Ohio should contact principal sponsor John Boehner, urging him to stick to his guns on this. Ill do the same in Georgia for Charlie Norwood, another one of the sponsors.