FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (202) 675-2312 or firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON – President Obama today issued an Executive Order stating the government’s principles and policymaking criteria for partnerships with faith-based and other neighborhood organizations. Though the Executive Order brings much needed clarity to current rules governing the participation of religious groups in government, it leaves many of the current troubling policies governing those relationships in place.
The new Executive Order does nothing to change policies allowing religious groups participating in federally funded programs to practice religious discrimination in their hiring. It also does not prohibit religious groups using federal money and providing federal services from exhibiting religious displays, making those services less welcome to a diverse population.
The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office:
“It is unfair and unconstitutional for our government to allow the practice of religious discrimination when hiring staff for federally funded programs. Federal money should never be used to endorse one religion over any other and, in today’s economy, our American workers should not have to pass a religious test to gain access to employment in federally funded programs. We are deeply disappointed that President Obama did not use this opportunity to fix many of the unsettling aspects of our government’s faith-based programs.”
The Obama administration’s Executive Order can be found here: www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/11/17/executive-order-fundamental-principles-and-policymaking-criteria-partner