World Relief Grief: Publicly Funded Ministry's Christians-Only Hiring Policy Begets Heartache and Harm, as Debate over Obama Inaction on 'Faith-Based' Bias Escalates
Conn, Joseph L., Church & State
Saad Mohammad Ali had every reason to think he was going to be hired for an Arabic-speaking caseworker position in World Relief's refugee resettlement program in Seattle, Wash.
The 42-year-old man is a former interpreter for the U.S. government in Iraq, he speaks English well and he is anxious to help other Iraqi refugees like himself learn to adjust to life here. He had already done that kind of work for six months as a World Relief volunteer.
To make his employment prospects even brighter, a World Relief manager had suggested that he apply for the position.
But Mohammad Ali's hopes were dashed a few days later when the manager called to say the Muslim father of three was not eligible. World Relief could not hire him, she said, because he is not a Christian.
"I've heard over and over again that in the U.S. discrimination in any form is not accepted," he told The Seattle Times. "So it was a disappointment."
But Mohammad Ali's understanding of American law is wrong. "Faith-based" social service agencies in the United States can, and do, discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion, even if they get the majority of their funding from the government.
Under federal policies implemented by President George W. Bush in 2001--and left in place today by President Barack Obama - publicly subsidized religious charities are free to …
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Publication information: Article title: World Relief Grief: Publicly Funded Ministry's Christians-Only Hiring Policy Begets Heartache and Harm, as Debate over Obama Inaction on 'Faith-Based' Bias Escalates. Contributors: Conn, Joseph L. - Author. Magazine title: Church & State. Volume: 63. Issue: 5 Publication date: May 2010. Page number: 11+. © 1999 Americans United for Separation of Church and State. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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