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Obama pressed on faith-based hiring
July 23rd, 2011
11:41 AM ET

Obama pressed on faith-based hiring

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.”

Read the full story from the 1600 Report
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Barack Obama • Belief • Politics

soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Martin T

    Does this story mean that as an atheist business owner who receives some government contracts, I can deny employment to anyone who is a Christian based on his or her belief? Cool.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  2. Bonnie

    Without the faith-based missions, America is a futile, life-less shell.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
  3. 56vrar

    A cult is a cult, by any name. You cannot reason with the mentally ill, you can only protect yourselves from them. No government support for any faith-based mission.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  4. Reality

    o Reiteration is great for the learning process. As is reading and rational thinking followed by conclusions based on all of it.

    What BO's answer should have been:

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated based on the studies of NT historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

    I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    July 26, 2011 at 7:42 am |
  5. Beatrice

    Both Europe and America are sick by bashing Christianity. Man who hates his conscience has no honor or purpose whatsoever, but just gets sick. He only counts his pathetic money.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:35 am |
  6. Beatrice

    What do Americans do on Memorial Day or Remembrance Day? Getting another drink? Shame on you!! Who truly remembers the sacrifice of dead soldiers? The Christians, as usual. Can non-believers do anything else other than getting drunk and drugged? Where did proper American education go?

    July 26, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  7. Beatrice

    Poor American forefathers that they had to give up their lives for a nation where their daughters sell themselves to losers and scorn everything valuable and precious.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:29 am |
  8. Beatrice

    American boys, wake up. Your forefathers did not die in battles so that you can indulge yourselves in shameful entertainment/pleasues, defend perversion, buy girls, get drunk or drugged like mad men and whine against Presidents while doing nothing. They died hoping you would grow to be men of honor and carry on the Christian mission and liberate every single human being on earth.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:26 am |
  9. Beatrice

    American men, because you didn't respect God and honor purity before marriage, your manhood is not respected by women and children.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
  10. Beatrice

    Both Europeans and Americans would've been barbaric, women-abusing empty-heads just like any others if they had no Bible or Christianity. Secular Westerners don't know that because they are illiterates on the Bible. Illiteracy in USA is a woe to Americans.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  11. Beatrice

    American men should study US history and find that America belongs to Christianity forever and stop blaming all the ills on Presidents and governments. The ills in present USA are all because of your ungodliness, enslavement to air-headed play-girls and your staunch refusal to work hard. You stupid, immoral boys are ruining your fatherland that your Christian forefathers worked so hard to build. Shame on all of you.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  12. Greg

    Beatrice... ppl like you scare me. Your "flock" are the same type of "sheep" that drank the Rev Jim Jones Kool aid... or those that holed up with David Koresh at Waco.

    The founding fathers were clearly atheists trying to escape the same tyranny of church and state that was inflicted in Britain. Get tour head out of your cheeks and read a book not written by your cult.

    or you leave

    July 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Capercorn

      Excuse me, but can you name a single historian who supports your "hypothesis" at all? There was little, if any, religious motivation behind the Revolution. The Colonies in America respected the English Monarch, and considered themselves loyal subjects, until the Parliament back in the British Isles decided to impose taxes on the colonists, without the consent of the Colonial governments [which were autonomous from Parliament]. Revolution didn't begin until the King sided with Parliament, and stripped the rights of the colonists to self govern.

      It is well known that most of the Founding Fathers were Christians, and the rest were Deists, but that Religion had little role in the politics behind the Revolution.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • Mel

      Most of Jim Jones followers did not willingly drink the kool-aid. Bad comparison really.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  13. MarineforLife

    Religion is a bunch of CRAP!!!

    July 25, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  14. lilome

    I don't want any of my taxes spent on any religious organization. Separation of church & state.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  15. Beatrice

    Americans do not know that their forefathers spoke and wrote the vocab of the Bible because they never go back to the Origin or the Source( the Bible). Secular Americans got screwed knowledge both in science and in history because they don't look into the roots. Mankind failed to produce anything superb, even remotely close to the Bible until this day. It'll be that way until the last day. The Bible is super-naturally outstanding over all. Those who read knows it.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • rawr

      Something tells me you never read it.

      Obama is a politician.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Oleg

      I read my Bible. That's why I'm not a Christian.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:11 am |
  16. Beatrice

    USA is the ONLY nation on earth where present residents deny the nation's religious roots. A true American comedy. Americans, be thankful to God. Your Christian forefathers created a nation which billions of humans would risk life just to step upon the soil. Thankless-ness brings unhappiness in ALL conditions. Say grace as former days, Americans. Wake up and stop thinking about money. Think of true life and trust in Jesus alone for salvation. Americans should stop thinking about money or tax altogether and start thinking about character. Among all peoples, Americans are the only ones who don't need to worry about money. Nobody is starving in USA. What pathetic life to spend the best years worrying about money in the best-conditioned nation when the stars are inviting us for the adventures? Look up to God, Americans. Life is not about gaining or losing money.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Dolfina

      Nobody is starving in the US? Where do YOU live. That's what GW used to say until someone showed him the lines of people waiting for a scrap of bread and a bowl of soup at the Salvation Army and/or the street kids dumpster diving for left-over McDonalds?

      July 25, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Drew

      Complete revisionist history written by some wack-job fundamentalist. Go back and read "a" good book, (like a history book) instead of "the" good book (though, nothing good about it), and maybe you'll start to truly understand who our forefathers really were, and what they stood for: a secular nation. Oh, and by the way, the department of health says that 1 in 4 children in America are on the brink of starvation, because families in this "perfect nation" can't put food on the table. Wake up.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • terence

      America's forefathers were primarily not Christians.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • JEFFERY FLOYD

      These people who responded to this message,look how hateful and miserable they are,hating there own country and its founders,they probably over weight,and to the one who mentioned the soup lines at salvation army,look I've got den there,and the majority of those there have been there 20 or more years cause they choose to be, I know them personally, they have clearly have never been to a third world country.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  17. Frogist

    It is truly disturbing that President Obama refuses to rectify this issue. If these organizations are receiving aid specifically for purposes that have nothing to do with their religion but more to do with secular issues, which is what the standard is, why are we even entertaining the idea that they can discriminate on the basis of religion which, if they receive funding, should have nothing to do with what their organization is supposed to be doing? Gov't funded religious discrimination? That can't be right. It's easy enough to say well don't join a religious organization if you are against their principles. And I support that. But can we really look at the economy, and say to someone who is desperate for a job, you can't work here because you're not the right religion?

    July 25, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • annasmum

      If you had a company, would you want an employee that didn't believe in the policies of the company or what the company stood for? Who disagreed with the backbone of the organization but needed a job? I understand where you are coming from but when there is a religious organization involved in something, people are watching. And all organizations should have employees that believe in what the company stands for. I wouldn't expect a Pro Lifer to go work at Planned Parenthood and do a good job as an employee that benefitted the company. Would you?

      July 25, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  18. Beatrice

    America must preserve its faith-based organizations as they are. USA's worth is in Christian charity.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • rawr

      No, what we need are charities that don't discriminate.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  19. Jeff

    I don't understand why faith based groups are getting taxpayer money to begin with. The government is not allowed to dictate religious beliefs to anyone or any church. Government doesn't censor any sermons, choose what version of the Bible is read or interfere with what a church teaches or preaches in any way. But they should not be supporting any church or faith based organization either, or choosing which faith based groups get funding and which one's don't.
    If they are going to give taxpayer money to faith groups, then those groups should not be allowed to discriminate against any taxpayer as far as employment or services. It's not fair that my tax dollars are used to support an organization that won't hire me on the basis of my religion. Churches seem to want it both ways. They want government money, but they don't want to pay taxes or follow government non-discrimination policies. How is this right?
    And I'm certain that any members of the churches that run these faith based groups would be outraged if they went to a private business and were told "Sorry, we don't hire people with your religious beliefs".

    July 24, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  20. Beatrice

    USA belongs to Christianity. Immoral parasites should leave the nation for good.

    July 24, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • Reality

      Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are happy and moral atheists.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • Beatrice

      Does USA have anyone other than Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffet? Where are the rest of over 300 million Americans? An atheist except for Mr. Gates is doing no charity, huh?

      July 25, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • Frogist

      @Beatrice: Or you can do a bit of research on your own and see all the good that the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders does. Or you can take the word of the atheists on this very board who help out in soup kitchens, donate blood, or give whatever they can to any number of charities. You can close your eyes to the good they are doing, but that doesn't mean they aren't doing it.

      July 25, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Beatrice

      Frogist, Christians started those charities and great many participants are Christian and charity continues because of Christian values. I hope you are the one who need researching. Non-believers are only wanting reduction in human pupulation, nothing else.

      July 25, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @Beatrice, As a Pagan who does charitable work, I can chose to utilize charitable organizations already in place, or I can waste valuable time and money in building my own charitable organization to do the same work.

      Many of my atheist friends feel the same way. A Christian may have started a program. A Jew may have. A Muslim may have. It shouldn't matter. If the structure is in place, utilize it.

      We need to stop being so hung up on what people believe and look past our differences. There are too many hungry, hurt, needy, and sick people in this world.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Shauna

      Immoral parasites should leave the country for good?? Ignorant, stupid, and bigoted people like you want to force Christianity down everyone's throats.....but which sect of Christiantiy should I follow?? Catholics, Methodists, Jews for Jesus, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Jesus Freaks??? The First Amendment guarantees ALL citizens the right to worship as they see fit. What should happen to citizens that do not follow your insane, asinine rantings.....be burned at the stake???

      July 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Beatrice

      Stupid evil secular Americans, read the above comments.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • AG

      @ Beatrice

      "Immoral parasites should leave the nation for good."

      You sure are not helping your cause with that kind of abusive language. First, learn the basic manners in how to talk to people, before you shove Christianity down their throat !!!

      "USA belongs to Christianity."

      Oh really ?? So, you want to butcher the rest of us, just like the native Americans were butchered earlier ??

      July 27, 2011 at 7:50 am |
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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.