A group of clergy and lawmakers is trying to overturn a policy that allows faith-based organizations receiving federal funding to hire and fire employees on the basis of religion.
Critics say President Barack Obama has not fulfilled his campaign promise to repeal the nearly decade-old policy established by President George W. Bush in 2002, USA Today reported.
It is shocking that we would even be having a debate about whether basic civil rights practices should apply to programs run with federal dollars, said U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va.
There is just no justification for sponsors of government-funded programs to tell job applications, 'We don't hire your kind.
Scott has sponsored the legislation to repeal the policy. But advocates for the change say the most effective route would be for Obama to issue a new executive order overturning Bush's, Scott told reporters Tuesday.
Introducing the policy in an attempt to advance a more faith-friendly approach toward charitable organizations receiving federal contracts for social services, Bush argued that while an organization accepting federal support cannot refuse employment on the basis of religion, they should be able to take religion into account when hiring and firing.
Formerly, groups that received government money were forbidden to consider religion in employment decisions.
And while many are opposed to the policy, many religious organizations support it.
We will do whatever we can to make sure this stays, said Michele Combs, spokeswoman for the Christian Coalition, saying charitable organizations should have the right to employ those who share like values.
That's our freedom, she said, to hire and fire people of our faith.
Scott and others referenced a speech Obama gave on the campaign trail before his 2008 election.
Obama said a group receiving federal money shouldn't be able to use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can't discriminate against them - or against the people you hire - or the basis of their religion.