Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


William Fisher: Coming To A Church Near You

Coming To A Church Near You


By William Fisher

When Al Qaida's Human Resources department brings new folks on board, we can assume 99.9% of them will be radical Islamists. Fine, we expect it.

When the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan is out recruiting, Henry Kissinger or Joe Lieberman or Barbra Streisand are not his most promising targets. He's looking for W.A.S.P.s. No surprise here.

And when Bob Jones University goes scouting for new blood, they're not looking for Denzel Washington or Whoopi Goldberg. The Supreme Court ruled twenty years ago that the federal government could deny a religiously-run university tax benefits because the university imposed a racially discriminatory anti-miscegenation policy.

Frankly, I don't really care who gets hired by these discredited and disgraceful outfits. At least, not until I'm asked to help pay their salaries.

And that's what the U.S. House of Representatives is asking me - and you --to do.

Yesterday, 224 of our courageous representatives passed the first rollback of religious liberty since President Reagan he signed the Job Training Partnership Act back into law 1982.

In that year, Congress passed the original Job Training Partnership Act.

It was sponsored by then Republican Senator (later vice-president) Dan Quayle, reported out of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee by then-chairman Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, and signed into law by Republican President Reagan.

Yesterday a different bunch of Republicans - joined by a lone Southern Democrat - decided in their infinite wisdom to scrap the civil rights protections contained in the Reagan version of the Act. What they okayed was use of tax dollars to fund religious discrimination in hiring for government-funded jobs. So the House made it OK to demand that taxpayers help finance hiring policies that say Protestants-only or Muslims-only, or Catholics-only, or Jews-only, or, for that matter, whites or blacks or Asians-only.

Despite the aggressive opposition of a huge coalition of religious, civil rights, labor, educational, and other advocacy groups, President Bush pushed hard for passage as part of his Faith Based Initiative.

Reminds me of my childhood when signs at companies and newspaper want-ads blatantly announced "Jews and Negroes need not apply".

Not to misunderstand, most of the religious groups who favored this sea-change do outstanding work. In fact, almost all of them have been doing it for years without tax dollars. Just like the religious and other groups who opposed it.

I'm with President Bush in thinking they could do even more. But whatever happened to the volunteer donors whose generosity has traditionally helped fund these organizations? Do all these champions of 'smaller government' jump ship as soon as federal grants are on offer?

Although religious employers enjoy an exemption allowing them to apply religious tests when hiring for positions funded with their own money (italics mine), the Constitution requires that direct receipt and administration of federal funds removes that exemption.

More than 60 years ago, one of the first successes of the modern civil rights movement was a decision by President Franklin Roosevelt to bar federal contractors from discriminating based on race, religion, or national origin. And, as of today, that's still the law of the land.

As for tomorrow, I'm not so sure. The bill passed by the House now goes to the Senate. Let us hope that the Constitutional separation of church and state is not dead there too.

*************

About the writer: William Fisher is a journalist and former economic development professional who has managed programs in Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa for the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State. THE WORLD ACCORDING TO BILL FISHER (http://billfisher.blogspot.com/)


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news