Battling 'Faith-Based Bias: Tax-Funded Hiring Discrimination by Religious Charities Is Wrong, AU's Lynn Tells Congress

By Boston, Rob | Church & State, January 2011 | Go to article overview

Battling 'Faith-Based Bias: Tax-Funded Hiring Discrimination by Religious Charities Is Wrong, AU's Lynn Tells Congress


Boston, Rob, Church & State


For U.S. Rep. Robert C. Scott, one of the biggest threats posed by the "faith-based" initiative is that it undermines fair-employment policies first put in place more than 60 years ago by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

"No discrimination with federal funds has been the policy of this government for decades - at least until the so-called faith-based initiative," the Virginia Democrat said during a recent congressional hearing on the matter. "If this bigotry based on religion is tolerated, racial and sexual discrimination disguised as religious discrimination certainly follows. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out if you get a pass on religion, it will be impossible to enforce non-discrimination laws based on race."

Scott's comments came Nov. 18 during a hearing on the initiative held by the House Committee on the Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. And he wasn't the only one to raise the issue of religiously based hiring bias by publicly funded faith-based charities.

Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn got an opportunity to weigh in as well. Lynn was asked to testify and outlined several concerns about the initiative.

"The single most important action that remains is to undo President Bush's Executive Orders and regulations that permit a religious entity that receives a government grant or contract to make hiring decisions, for the very programs that are federally funded, on the basis of religion," Lynn told the subcommittee during his opening statement. "This is sometimes referred to as 'preferential hiring'; it is more accurately labeled simply as 'discrimination.' And it is ethically and legally wrong."

Lynn's full written testimony to the subcommittee, which ran 13 pages and included an additional 77 pages of supporting material, touched on other flaws in the initiative. He criticized the policy for being politicized during the presidency of George W. Bush and expressed concern that vulnerable people were being subjected to unwanted religious activities.

But the issue of taxpayer-subsidized hiring bias on the basis of religion remained the focal point of the hearing.

"I don't want to impair the religious character of any church or temple or charitable group," Lynn said.

"But the 'free exercise' of religion is not burdened when a group voluntarily accepts government funds knowing that it contains constraints on religiously motivated conduct, like hiring only its own followers. The First Amendment is not an excuse to refuse to play by American rules when you are playing with Americans' dollars."

Lynn pointed to two recent examples of religious bias: Saad Mohammad Ali and Mohammed Zeitoun, two Muslims who had worked with World Relief, an evangelical agency, were denied permanent employment because they are not Christian.

Ali, an Iraqi refugee, had volunteered at World Relief for six months, and his manager suggested he apply for a job as an Arabic-speaking caseworker. A few days later, Ali was told he would not be considered for the position because he is a Muslim. Zeitoun was already working at the Seattle-based group but was fired because he refused to affirm World Relief's theological mission statement.

This discrimination happened even though World Relief gets about 65 percent of its budget from government sources.

The subcommittee hearing, coming as the Democrats prepared to surrender control of the House of Representatives to the Republican Party, was a milestone. For years, Americans United has led a broad collection of religious, civil liberties and public policy organizations called the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination (CARD).

During the hearing, several members of Congress joined Scott in speaking out against tax-funded employment discrimination.

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), then chairman of the subcommittee, observed, "It is no secret that I have been extremely disappointed with this administration's handling of these difficult issues. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Battling 'Faith-Based Bias: Tax-Funded Hiring Discrimination by Religious Charities Is Wrong, AU's Lynn Tells Congress
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.