I want to congratulate the U.S. Senate for respecting religious liberty when it unanimously reauthorized Head Start. After years of attempts to politicize Head Start by allowing providers to commit religious discrimination in choosing teachers and volunteers, the Senate reauthorized the program without the language that would allow this unconstitutional practice.
In doing so, the Senate has sent a strong message to the Religious Right that their attempts to fund religious discrimination with tax-payer dollars will not be tolerated. The uplifting opportunities that Head Start provides should be made available to all eligible families, regardless of their religious affiliation.
Houses of worship do not need direct funding from any government entity. Ministering to people in need is a part of the mission of all religious organizations, but they do this work because of their identity and commitment to ministry, not because of financial support from the government. Religious organizations need to understand and respect the differing obligations that they have to their faith tradition and the government has to the public good. The Improving Head Start Act of 2007 preserves that important distinction.
The Interfaith Alliance also wants to commend its 185,000 members from 75 different faiths and our local activists representing 75 affiliates nationwide for continually speaking out on this issue. Because you value religious pluralism, your strong, unified message that taxpayer money must not be used to advance religious faith, made a difference today! Congratulations.
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.