Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief: Government-Funded Religion

In the past, the government has allowed taxpayer funds to be used for religious discrimination through so-called "faith-based initiatives" that grant religious social service providers — who have long provided admirable and essential services to America's communities — the right to discriminate, proselytize and play by different rules than other charities while spending tax dollars. Social workers, psychologists, counselors and others seeking to work in tax-funded social service programs have been denied jobs solely because of their faith.

Supporting the good work of faith-based social service providers should not mean abandoning basic American ideals. We must not allow the vital services of faith-based groups to become co-opted by the administration as mere government-funded religion.

The government already can and does work collaboratively with faith-based organizations. It has long granted tax dollars to religious social service providers that agree not to discriminate in hiring or providing services, and that operate their social services in a secular manner. These types of religiously affiliated charities do not deny people employment based on faith, nor do they mix religious activity in with their government-funded services.

Stay Informed