ADL Welcomes House Committee's Rejection Of Religious Discrimination Amendment In Head Start
New York, NY, March 15, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed action by the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee to reject an amendment designed to permit religious-based employment discrimination by faith-based Head Start providers. A similar measure was approved by the House of Representatives in September 2005.
"We are very pleased that a majority of the House Education and Labor Committee has voted to reject this divisive and unnecessary religious discrimination amendment," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Federally funded religious discrimination is always wrong, and to permit such discrimination in Head Start, an important anti-poverty program that reaches so many communities across the country, would have been unnecessary and misguided."
Since 1972, agencies that receive federal funding for Head Start – including many religious organizations and houses of worship that currently host Head Start programs – have been prohibited from discriminating on the basis of religion when hiring or firing staff for positions. The proposed amendment would have repealed those existing civil rights protections, which were originally signed into law by President Richard Nixon and had been reaffirmed in every Head Start reauthorization since.
"ADL greatly values the extraordinary role religious institutions have historically played in addressing many of our nation's most pressing social needs, as a critical complement to government-funded programs," said Mr. Foxman. "But we draw the line at government-funded religious discrimination. Faith-based organizations who receive federal funding must not discriminate on the basis of religion in government-funded positions."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.