“Federally Subsidized Employment Discrimination,” is what the Rev. Barry Lynn, Executive Director of American United for Separation of Church and State, called the Faith-based and Community Initiatives when he spoke recently here in San Jose.
It seems like a strong statement, and implies that the taxpayer funding for these faith-based groups arrives without any strings attached.
So, to check it out I went to the Justice Department — I figured they would have to enforce whatever laws there are on employment discrimination.
From the Justice Department website:
Question 10: Will the way in which our faith-based organization hires employees change if we receive Federal funding?
In most circumstances, no. There is no general Federal law that prohibits faith-based organizations that receive Federal funds from hiring on a religious basis. Nor does the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which applies regardless of whether an organization receives Federal funds, prohibit faith-based organizations from hiring on a religious basis. This Act protects Americans from employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability. But the Civil Rights Act also recognizes the fundamental rights of faith-based organizations to hire employees who share their religious beliefs. The United States Supreme Court unanimously upheld this special protection for faith-based groups in 1987, and it has been the law since then. Thus, a Jewish organization can decide to hire only Jewish employees, a Catholic organization can decide to hire only Catholics, and so on, without running into problems with the Civil Rights Act.
While on the surface, that seems reasonable, why should a Jewish organization hire a Muslim (for instance)?
But consider two things:
- These organizations are getting public money, from you, me, and the Muslim would-be employee of the Jewish organization.
- These organizations are supposed to be supplying services to the community without bias towards anyone.
Now imagine applying for a job there and being asked who your minister is, or which church you belong to. You might be the best medical tech in the ER, but the local faith-funded clinic would not hire you if you did not match their faith profile, and it is perfectly legal.
Welcome to Chimpy McStagger’s America.