Last week, I wrote about how the Obama Administration’s Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, an unconstitutional government organization dedicated to funneling public money to politically-connected churches, had refused even to respond to questions about its involvement in employment discrimination. Jobs created with government money that goes through the Office have been handed out on the basis of religious identity. People paid with government money, who haven’t shared the religious beliefs of their church bosses have been fired for no other reason than their religious identity – in the middle of a terrible recession when other jobs are almost impossible to find.
What I couldn’t know when I wrote about the subject last week is that just three days later, the Obama Administration would issue new guidelines about how the money funneled through the Office of Faith-Based Intitiatives can be used.
Back in 2008, Barack Obama promised that he would end the use of government money to support employment discrimination on the basis of religion. Now, we’re in the middle of the 2012 presidential election, and people who voted for Obama four years ago are considering the degree to which Obama has kept his campaign promises. Given that, what do you think Obama did about employment discrimination in Friday’s new guidelines for the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives?
Barack Obama decided to keep the employment discrimination on the basis of religion going. He issued guidelines that allow the government to keep on paying money to create jobs that are available only to people who have certain religious beliefs. After the release of these guidelines, Reverend Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State explained that, “A fundamentalist Christian church can still run a publicly funded social service program and hang out a sign that says, “Government job opening: No Catholics, Jews, Muslims or Atheists need apply.”
These jobs may be administered by church officials, but they’re government jobs. They’re paid for with government money. Their creation is approved of by government officials with a White House office. They’re part of a public trust. They are a form of public office.
The Constitution specifically forbids the government’s creation of jobs that are provided on the basis of religious identity. Even before the First Amendment was passed, the original body of the Constitution declared, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States”.
Barack Obama seems to care more about his own political future than he does about the constitutional rights of people who are being fired from public office for no other reason than their beliefs about religion. As he’s looking at Election Day coming close, President Obama knows that he would anger people in big churches if he took away their government funding, or if he insisted that religious discrimination in employment end. To keep his job, Obama is willing to allow others to lose theirs.