By Alexander Mooney, CNN
(CNN)–President Obama signaled Friday he has no intention of rescinding a controversial executive order that permits some faith-based organizations that receive federal funding to discriminate against non-believers in their hiring practices.
The president’s comments on the matter came during a town hall event in Maryland, when a questioner who identified herself as an atheist pressed Obama on statements he made as a candidate in 2008 suggesting he was against permitting discriminatory hiring among faith-based organizations backed by taxpayer dollars.
“It’s very straightforward that people shouldn’t be discriminated against for race, gender, sexual orientation, and – or religious affiliation,” Obama said Monday. “What has happened is, is that there has been a carve-out, dating back to President Clinton’s presidency, for religious organizations in their hiring for particular purposes.”
The executive order in question, issued by President Clinton and affirmed by President Bush in 2002, states that while religious organizations that receive federal funds cannot discriminate against beneficiaries of their programs, they “may retain religious terms in its organization's name, select its board members on a religious basis, and include religious references in its organization's mission statements and other chartering or governing documents.”
The Torah from Kolin, in the former Czechoslovakia.
By Philip Rosenbaum, Matthew Moskowitz and Jonathan O’Beirne, CNN
New York (CNN) – Help wanted: Someone who can sit in one place for hours on end, has the hand-eye coordination of a brain surgeon, a yogi’s power of concentration, a linguist’s knack for languages – especially ancient Hebrew – and a monk’s ability to work alone in contemplative silence, all while avoiding impure thoughts.
The hypothetical job posting, which you’re not likely to see in the classifieds, is for a sofer, or Torah scribe.
Every day, scribes around the world spend painstaking hours writing new Torahs – which contain the first five books of the Bible – by hand and restoring damaged or old ones that show the natural ravages of time that could make the scrolls unusable for services.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.