WASHINGTON – Today, nine federal agencies released their final rules reforming the policies that govern religious organizations that contract with the federal government, seeking to protect the religious freedom of all those receiving government services. These reforms are the result of may years of lobbying and advising from Interfaith Alliance and partner organizations. Following today’s announcement, Rabbi Jack Moline, released this statement:
“The reforms announced today are a critical part of securing President Obama’s legacy on religious freedom and LGBT equality. No one should fear discrimination or intimidation when interacting with a federal contractor or grantee; no one should be compelled to participate in a religious ritual when receiving government-promised services. These regulations, while not perfect, bring the faith-based initiative closer in line with constitutional principles.
“We will be keeping an watchful eye in the coming months as these reforms are implemented. It is critical that we remember that they were drafted and proposed in the spirit of preventing discrimination and the inappropriate mixing of religion and government. Without a doubt, there will be those who seek to misinterpret these policies to push a narrow, sectarian vision of religious freedom. President Obama and Melissa Rogers are to be commended for advancing this work. However, our work is not done, and those of us committed to the First Amendment must remain steadfast in our efforts to untangle religious organizations and the government. We must fight to end the policy that allows for religious discrimination in hiring by federal contractors and grantees. We must prevent federal funding from being used for any form of proselytization, or subsidizing all kinds of discrimination and bigotry.”
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.