President Bush Backs Federally Funded Religious Groups to Base Their Hiring Decisions on a Job Candidate's Religion and Sexual Orientation

June 25, 2003

Source: The Washington Post

On June 25, 2003 The Washington Post reported that "President Bush called on Congress yesterday to make it easier for federally funded religious groups to base their hiring decisions on a job candidate's religion and sexual orientation... A White House position paper sent to Capitol Hill argues that 'religious hiring rights' are part of religious organizations' civil rights. 'When they receive federal funds, they should retain their right to hire those individuals who are best able to further their organizations' goals and mission,' the document says... H. James Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, said in an interview that he found great confusion about hiring laws when he met with officials of charities throughout the country. 'It's been abundantly clear that the religious hiring issue is a real barrier for a lot of faith-based organizations,' Towey said. 'And if faith-based organizations are deterred from providing services, the real losers are the poor...' Administration officials said the policy, months in development, takes a stand that Bush has long held but has not previously spelled out."