Washington, D.C. – Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy released the following statement in response to President Obama’s answer today to a question about faith-based groups who provide social services being allowed to discriminate in their hiring practices while receiving government funding. The question was asked at a town hall meeting at the University of Maryland in College Park.
The President’s tacit approval of discriminatory hiring practices by faith-based organizations who receive taxpayer dollars is disappointing not just in its substance but also because it is a departure from the opposition to such discrimination he unequivocally stated while on the campaign trail. Creating the loophole that allows this type of discrimination to take place was a bad decision by the Clinton administration, made worse by the Bush administration, and its continuation by the Obama administration is a shocking disappointment.
Frankly, the President’s response that he has “struck the right balance so far” on this issue is misguided and untrue. There is no such thing as balance when it comes to discrimination supported by government funding. As I have said on numerous occasions, religious groups have every right to employ only those individuals who are committed to their religion and values—but if taxpayers are funding the organization, it should reflect our nation’s historic commitment to civil rights or exist without government money. President Obama’s comments today, taken as a whole, do not provide any encouragement that progress will be made in this area any time soon.
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.