President OK's Taxpayer Funds for Religious Discrimination

Dec 11, 2002 Issues: Civil Rights

NEW YORK - With the stroke of a pen, President Bush bypassed Congress and the Constitution today in legalizing government-funded religious discrimination, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said today.  Rep. Nadler is the ranking Democrat on the Constitution Subcommittee in the US House of Representatives.

In a statement critical of a series of executive orders, which would exempt religious organizations that receive Federal funds from discrimination laws in hiring, Rep. Nadler said, “Today, the President endorsed the practice of hanging signs on doors that say ‘No Jews or Catholics Need Apply.’  In fact, he not only endorsed it, he said that the taxpayers should pay for it.”

In a speech to religious and charitable leaders in Philadelphia, the President announced that he would impose some of the most controversial aspects of his Faith-Based Initiative by Presidential fiat.  Religious organizations, will now compete for Federal funds to operate without needing to abide by Federal anti-discrimination laws - allowing for people to be denied employment simply because they are Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu, any other religion or not religious at all.

“The American people should be very scared of what the President has done today,” said Rep. Nadler.  “They should be very scared of what his party now seems to stand for.  In just one week, we have seen the Majority Leader of the Senate say that we would be better off if we had elected a racial bigot for President instead of Harry Truman.  Now, the President is saying that this country will be better off if we junk the religious freedom protections of the First Amendment, and allowed religious organizations to use Federal money to blackball people on the basis of their religion.”

Rep. Nadler has served in Congress since 1992.  He represents the 8th Congressional District of New York, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.