WASHINGTON (ABP) – Dozens of religious, civil rights, labor and women’s organizations, wrote the White House Dec. 7 asking how the Obama administration decides whether religious organizations may discriminate when hiring for government-funded positions.
A coalition including the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty said the White House has said repeatedly that such determinations are made on a “case-by-case” basis but never explained the standards used to make that analysis.
The letter is the latest effort by members of the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination to follow up on then-candidate Barack Obama’s 2008 pledge to end policies instituted by the George W. Bush administration that permit discrimination on the basis of religion in federal employment.
“This divisive issue cannot be kicked down the road forever,” said BJC General Counsel K. Hollyn Hollman. “The Baptist Joint Committee and the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination will keep sounding the alarm that our government should not subsidize religious discrimination.”
In September groups including the BJC wrote asking President Obama if July remarks that religious organizations have “more leeway” to “hire somebody who is a believer of that particular faith” indicated the president had changed his position from what he said while running for president: “If you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them — or against the people you hire — on the basis of their religion."
Bob Allen is managing editor of Associated Baptist Press.