Faith Groups Blast Biden’s Plan to Control Their Employment Decisions

Several faith groups are pushing back against a new plan from Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration that seeks to dictate who they can and can’t employ.

Biden’s State Department is proposing a new “nondiscrimination” demand that could affect the employment decisions of Christian ministries.

The new proposal would ban discrimination against beneficiaries of programs that are sometimes given grants by the government “on specified bases.”

State Department bureaucrats also want to demand that those organizations hire employees on a nondiscriminatory basis.

However, faith groups argue that the proposal violates the U.S. Constitution, the religious clauses of the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and more.

The groups explain that the laws of the land require nondiscrimination rules to provide “overriding protection for religious freedom.”

The charge to the government came from the Accord Network, Samaritan’s Purse, the Christian Legal Society, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and others.

Without a provision for religious rights, the organizations told the State Department that the proposed rules are “arbitrary and capricious.”

The Biden admin’s rules fail “to consider a reasonable alternative, specifically, categorical exemption of religious organizations applying for foreign assistance grants and federal acquisition contracts…”

In a letter to the Biden admin, the ministries explain that they “affirm” the idea of not discriminating against any benefit “recipient.”

But the problem is the rules as planned by the State Department threaten their right to hire employees they choose.

The rules could force them to stop partnering with the government on aid programs.

“To illustrate the full extent of the potential loss of foreign assistance of USAID’s top 50 largest foreign assistance recipients, religious organizations comprise $613 million in obligated agency funding in FY ’23,” the faith groups explain in their letter.

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“They have worked in over 100 countries programming in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), displaced persons and refugee support, countertrafficking, and strengthening of civil society structures like health care and justice systems.”

Without changes, the groups warn the Biden administration:

“The regulations will infringe statutory and constitutional rights, frustrate the regulations’ stated purpose, impede the delivery of foreign assistance, threaten the U.S. government’s foreign policy objectives, foment expensive litigation, and result in the unintended exclusion of religious organizations from being applicants and offerors for the department’s grants and contracts.”

Online, there’s a petition procedure for people to sign up to agree with the comments:

“I strongly oppose the U.S. State Department’s consideration of new regulations that will cut off grants and contracts to Christian – and all faith-based – relief organizations that require their employees to share their faith and their religious values.”

Specifically, the government is warned that there are such things as religious rights protected by the Constitution.

The groups argue that the proposal would “not allow [faith-based organizations] to consider sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in the hiring process in order to remain eligible for foreign aid funding.”

The ERLC explained:

“Hiring staff members that reflect the religious beliefs of an organization is a long-standing pillar of religious liberty protections.”

Franklin Graham, who heads Samaritan’s Purse, added:

“These proposed State Department regulations could be used to force faith-based organizations like Samaritan’s Purse to hire staff who disagree with our core biblical beliefs about God’s design for marriage, sexuality, and gender in order to be eligible for government grants.”

He continued:

“Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian organization and we will not compromise on the fundamental principle of hiring like-minded Christians who share our calling, our stand on the authority of God’s Word, and our statement of faith.”

The groups explain in their letter to the government there needs to be a “categorical exemption” from religious belief requirements in the process.

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By Nick R. Hamilton

Nick has a broad background in journalism, business, and technology. He covers news on cryptocurrency, traditional assets, and economic markets.

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