ADL Commends Proposed White House Safeguards Against Religious Coercion in Federally Funded Programs

New York, NY, August 5, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the publication of President Obama’s proposed regulations designed to safeguard against proselytizing and discrimination for program participants and beneficiaries in federally-funded faith-based programs.

Christopher Wolf, ADL Civil Rights Chair, and Deborah M. Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director, issued the following statement:

We have a deep appreciation for the vital role religious institutions have historically played in addressing many of our nation’s most pressing social needs. Unfortunately, President Bush’s 2001 Faith-Based Initiative lacked adequate constitutional and anti-discrimination protections. Through Executive Orders and changes to federal agency contracting regulations, the Bush Administration fundamentally altered the relationship between government and faith-based organizations, and opened the door to proselytizing in government-funded social welfare programs and religious discrimination in hiring and firing within taxpayer-funded programs.

President Obama has addressed many of these problems – through his own Executive Order 13559 and, now, through the publication of these proposed new regulations designed to implement and effectuate the Executive Order. The proposed new regulations are a significant step forward, safeguarding the religious freedom of program beneficiaries and protecting faith-based providers from government entanglements.

Importantly, these proposed regulations do not end our concerns about the serious issue of religious discrimination in hiring for taxpayer-funded jobs within these programs, and we very much hope the Administration will address this issue soon.

We look forward to a full review of the new regulations and continuing to engage with this Administration on thoughtful, productive, and non-discriminatory ways to forge partnerships between faith based groups and the government that benefit all Americans.

ADL also applauded the extraordinary and careful work that Melissa Rogers, Director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Partnerships, has done coordinating the drafting and publication of these proposed new regulations.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.