Government-Funded Religion

Government-Funded Religion

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. More

The ACLU works to ensure that the law protects against governmental actions that favor, endorse, or promote religion generally or any specific faith over others.


New Regulation Proposes Government-Funding of Religion: Did you know your federal tax dollars could soon be used to help construct, acquire or rebuild houses of worship overseas? This blog, covers a new rule proposed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the government agency primarily responsible for distributing foreign aid, that would allow U.S. taxpayer funds to be used to construct churches, mosques, or temples.

Stop Government-Funded Religious Discrimination [Action]: 70 years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered an end to employment discrimination by defense contractors based on race, religion, or national origin. However, in 2002, President George W. Bush rolled back one of these core civil rights protections. Now, religious organizations that contract with the government can discriminate on the basis of religion in hiring for government-funded jobs. Take action and urge President Obama to restore this longstanding civil rights protection!

Since When Is the First Amendment an Afterthought? (2011 blog post): "If your focus is first and foremost serving people in need, then there's not a tremendous amount of time left to debate the finer points of the church-state relationship." The Denver Post reported that Joshua DuBois, the head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, made this alarming statement, at a recent event in Denver. These "finer points" are not a nuisance or an afterthought. They are critical to how government-funded social services are delivered. For instance, they are what ensure that you wouldn't be turned away from a homeless shelter because you are not Christian. They are what ensure that you wouldn't be forced to attend a worship service prior to getting a meal at a soup kitchen or taking part in a job training program. These "finer points" protect people in need — and are required by the Constitution.

White House Announces Troubling Faith-Based Order, ACLU Says Administration Is Heading Into Uncharted Waters (2009 press release)

White House Must Reform Faith-Based Initiative, Says ACLU (2010 press release)

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Government-Funded Hiring Discrimination Is a Big Step in the Wrong Direction (2011 blog post)

ACLU Asks Court to End Government Funding of Religion in Mississippi Abstinence-Only Program (2009 press release)

ACLU Says Taxpayer-Funded Faith-Based Drug Treatment Would Jeopardize Quality of Care for Neediest Americans (2003 press release)

ACLU Says Changes to Bush Faith-Based Bill Make Government-Funded Discrimination More Likely (2001 press release)


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