June 23, 2011 Print
Woman holding a basket of food

Liberal Groups Push President to Rescind Religious Hiring Rights

by Catherine Snow

A “who’s who” of Leftist, humanist, abortion and gay organizations submitted a stern letter to President Obama on Tuesday, demanding that he rescind part of the 2002 Executive Order protecting religious hiring rights.

More specifically, the coalition wants Obama to prohibit contractors who do business with the government from using religious-based hiring criteria.

The letter, signed by 52 organizations, comes days before the 70th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order that barred discrimination by federal contractors. His directive was then codified into law in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibited employers from hiring and firing based on religious beliefs. In 1972, it was slightly amended to exempt churches and religious associations.

The timing of the letter also coincides with the federal government’s stepped-up efforts to codify into law special protections for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people.

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for CitizenLink, noted the biased news coverage of the weighty issue. “The liberal news media has given Americans the impression that faith-based charitable groups are pushing to rescind these protections,” Hausknecht said. “Not true. A closer look at the list of cosigners reveals the true motive: to silence people of faith and push them out of the public square.”

Cosigners include: American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for the Separation of Church and State, Catholics for Choice, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, National Education Association, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Organization for Women, People for the American Way, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and the Transgender Law Center.

The liberal coalition claims that it’s a civil rights issue; however, Stanley Carlson-Thies, president of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance, says the Civil Rights Act itself protects the hiring rights of religious groups.

“That’s part of our civil rights legacy,” he explained, is “for the government to acknowledge that it has to treat the hiring actions of religious organizations differently than it treats secular organizations.”

Read Executive Order 8802 signed on June 25, 1941, by FDR.

Read Executive Order 13279 signed on December 12, 2002, by President Bush.

Read the June 21 letter to President Obama.

Read ‘Are Faith-Based Hiring Policies A Social Evil’?