ADL Welcomes House Rejection Of Religious Discrimination Amendment To Head Start Program
New York, NY, May 3, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed a vote in the House of Representatives 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 the House rejected this divisive and unnecessary religious discrimination amendment," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "For 35 years, these fundamental non-discrimination protections have worked well, allowing thousands of Head Start programs in communities throughout the country to flourish while maintaining essential constitutional and civil rights safeguards."
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 The proposed amendment would have repealed those existing civil rights protections, which were originally signed into law by President Richard Nixon and had been reaffirmed in every Head Start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.
"Congress has never approved the repeal of existing civil rights protections," said Mr. Foxman. "To have done so in the context of the historic Head Start anti-poverty program, so valued in so many communities across the country, would have been misguided. Working with our coalition partners in the education, civil rights, and religious communities we will urge prompt Senate action on this important legislation."
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.