The Trump administration has proposed a rule which protects faith-based organizations that contract with the federal government by allowing them to make employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs.
The proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs ensures that conscience and religious freedom are given the broadest protection permitted by law. The proposed rule will be posted tomorrow and open for public comment for 30 days.
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. The proposed rule accounts for exemptions for religious organizations in The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 and OFCCP’s regulations, which govern certain employment practices of federal contractors. Recent Supreme Court decisions such as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, also address the protections afforded religious organizations and individuals under the Constitution and federal law. In addition, 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 freedom.
“I commend the Trump administration and the Department of Labor for not discriminating against religious employers and organizations that can provide the same high-quality services as allowed by other federal contractors,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The religious freedom of individuals and organizations is protected under federal law and the Constitution. It is past time to end discrimination against churches and Christian viewpoints,” said Staver.