Existing policies wrongly allow taxpayer-funded organizations to discriminate on the basis of religion in administering social service programs using public funds. Most troubling, religious organizations can discriminate on the basis of religion when hiring for their government-funded programs. No organization – religiously-affiliated or otherwise – should be allowed to discriminate when hiring for jobs funded by taxpayer dollars. In addition, there are inadequate protections for the religious liberty of beneficiaries of these publicly funded programs. Despite decades of practice to the contrary, our government is no longer committed to ensuring that no one is disqualified from government-funded jobs because of his or her religion.
The President must restore this commitment by signing an executive order to end discrimination based on religion in hiring within these programs and rescinding regulations, guidance, an OLC opinion, and relevant executive orders that currently permit such discrimination. The President should also ensure that all federal agencies fully implement the religious liberty protections in Executive Order 13559 (as informed by the Presidential Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Report) that prohibit discrimination against those who seek government-funded social services.