Saturday, September 12, 2015

Counter-Letter Urges Obama To Retain 2007 Office of Legal Counsel Interpretation of RFRA

As previously reported, last month a coalition of 130 religious, civil rights and advocacy organizations sent a letter to the President urging that the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel reconsider a 2007 Memorandum that interpreted RFRA to require exemptions for religiously-affiliated organizations from non-discrimination provisions in federal grant programs. Now a counter-letter dated Sept. 10 and signed by 70 religious leaders and faculty at religiously-affiliated colleges (full text) has been sent to the President urging him to retain "basic principles and provisions of federal law that support religious staffing by religious organizations." The letter reads in part:
We are grateful that you have welcomed “all hands” to contribute to federal social policy by maintaining and refining the federal faith-based initiative and its rules that provide for equal opportunity for faith-based organizations to collaborate with government in serving community needs. Making it more difficult for faith-based organizations to join those partnerships would undermine, rather than burnish, your commitment to effective and flourishing “all hands” partnerships.
Mirror of Justice reports on the letter.