NRB To President Obama: Do Not Shackle Faith-Based Charities
July 19, 2011 at 8:32 AM (PT)
The NATIONAL RELIGIOUS BROADCASTERS (NRB) has formally asked President BARACK OBAMA to enforce current law with regard to the hiring and employment practices of faith-based charities that receive government grants.
“Recently a coalition of groups have called on you to repudiate a prior Executive Order (EO #13279) … that struck a sensible, and lawful balance between the religious freedom rights of religious organizations receiving federal grants and the great benefit that such groups can bring us toward solving the great social needs of our day,” said NRB Pres./CEO Dr. FRANK WRIGHT in his letter to the PRESIDENT. "[T]he beneficial partnership that the federal government can have with faith-based organizations as they jointly work toward solving the myriad problems that face our nation” is a “subject on which you have spoken previously, and eloquently,” he continued.
Dr. WRIGHT then encouraged President OBAMA to officially reaffirm the provisions of Executive Order 13279, reminding the PRESIDENT that in so doing, he would be “taking an important step in preventing a campaign of hostility to be mounted against faith-based charities and service organizations.”
To reinforce that message, NRB SVP/General Counsel CRAIG PARSHALL sent a companion letter to Attorney General HOLDER. He stressed that organizations are legally out of line to petition the DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DOJ) to remove the faith-based hiring and employment exemptions given to WORLD VISION INC. and other similarly situated religious non-profit relief organizations. PARSHALL also reminded the Attorney General that in 2007, under the previous administration, the DOJ issued a memorandum stating clearly that allowing certain hiring and employment exemptions for faith-based federal grantees is not only legal, but demanded by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which was signed into law in 2000.
“At issue here is nothing less than the fundamental principal that a religious organization should never be forced by government to abandon its most basic faith-based tenets in order to participate in American civic life,” said PARSHALL.