Pastor John Coats and OCA President Chris Long Discuss the Trump Administration’s Proposed Rule Change That Protects Religious Organizations and Institutions in Hiring Practices.

Pastor John Coats and OCA President Chris Long Discuss the Trump Administration's Proposed Rule Change That Protects Religious Organizations and Institutions in Hiring Practices.

ACTION ITEM:  Click on the link below. The comment section will be open until September 15. It is important that people of faith express their support for the rule change. 

 

U.S. Department of Labor Proposes a Rule Clarifying

Civil Rights Protections for Religious Organizations

 WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking intended to clarify the civil rights protections afforded to religious organizations that contract with the federal government. The proposed rule ensures that conscience and religious freedom are given the broadest protection permitted by law. The proposed rule is currently available for public inspection and will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, August 15, 2019.

The proposed rule is rooted in statute, Supreme Court decisions, and Executive Orders. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes a critical, protective exemption for religious organizations. A similar exemption is included in Executive Order 11246 and OFCCP’s regulations, which govern certain employment practices of federal contractors. Recent Supreme Court decisions - Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores - further address the protections afforded religious organizations and individuals under the Constitution and federal law. Executive Orders 13798, Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty, and 13831, Establishment of a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, along with U.S. Department of Justice guidance, likewise instruct federal agencies to protect religious exercise and not impede it.

In keeping with that rich history, the proposed rule would clarify that religious organizations may make employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs without fear of sanction by the federal government. The proposal also reaffirms employers’ obligations not to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or other protected bases and does not exempt or excuse a contractor from complying with any other requirements.

“Today’s proposed rule helps to ensure the civil rights of religious employers are protected,” Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella remarked. “As people of faith with deeply held religious beliefs are making decisions on whether to participate in federal contracting, they deserve clear understanding of their obligations and protections under the law.” 

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