Thursday, December 12, 2002

In the middle of a flap about discrimination, what does Bush do? Sign an executive order allowing federal contractors to discriminate on the basis of religion.

WASHINGTON- President Bush is enacting by executive fiat key pieces of his divisive "faith-based initiative," including one that lets federal contractors use religious favoritism in their hiring.


By far the most contentious of the changes is Bush's executive order informing federal agencies that religious organizations refusing to hire people of any faith can still win contracts.

Additionally, new regulations being unveiled Thursday from the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Housing and Urban Development also preserve the right of religious groups providing certain government-financed services to hire based on religion.

Of course, if my religious beliefs include, say, the belief that racial mingling in the workplace is wrong, or that I won't hire workers who practice miscegenation, or...

This is a big deal - this has a much wider reach than the original proposal which was to allow, say, proselytizing drug treatment programs to get federal money.

UPDATE: For those who think this is somewhat alarmist - it sounds as if it would open the door for, say, Catholic Hospitals, which are a HUGE health care provider, to engage in religious discrimination. Not picking on them, just making the point that this could be BIG.