Federal Agencies Propose Rule to Remove Protections for Faith-Based Businesses and Nonprofits

by Joshua Arnold at washingtonstand.com

Nine federal agencies announced a proposed rule on Friday that would roll back Trump-era protections for faith-based organizations against discrimination by the federal government. The agencies cloak their discrimination in seemingly neutral language, through changes that “really get into the weeds,” as Travis Weber, FRC vice president for Policy and Government Affairs, said on “Washington Watch.” Weber explained the rules “shap[e] the way organizations can freely participate in our cultural marketplace” and roll “back the way in which organizations can participate with the federal government and remain free to their faith.”

The proposed pule attracted criticism from Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who warned, “President Biden’s new rules will empower agencies to discriminate against faith-based charities, likely hurting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

Weber explained that the rules surrounding faith-based partnerships go back two decades to the George W. Bush administration. “The Bush administration laid out a protocol on this, followed by the Obama administration, followed by the Trump administration,” he said. To comply with a 2018 executive order from President Trump, the nine relevant agencies adopted a rule in 2020 which “laid out a robust system for ensuring that religious entities can partner with the federal government while remaining free to live out their faith and, in a robust manner, ensure their organizational integrity,” said Weber.

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