In a joint letter [.pdf] to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today, a broad coalition of organizations said the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed in 1993, was designed to protect religious liberty, not countenance discrimination.
The 58 signatories have asked Holder to beging the process of withdrawing the "constitutionally questionable" June 2007 memo which held that RFRA could exempt certain religious organizations from federal anti-discrimination provisions
The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, said:
The Bush administration twisted federal law to buttress its misguided policies and allow religious discrimination in taxpayer-funded ‘faith-based’ programs. It’s time for the Obama administration to correct this error.
J. Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee For Religions Liberty said:
Having helped to spearhead the RFRA effort, I know of no one in 1993 who thought the new law would ever be applied this way.
In a joint statement, Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director said:
We remain deeply troubled by President Obama's faith-based initiative. The president made it clear during his campaign that the Bush Administration's faith-based initiative lacked essential safeguards against proselytizing. It is disappointing that he has not yet acted on his very clear commitments to ensure that grant money will not be used to proselytize or to discriminate against others on the basis of their religious beliefs.
[Hat tip to Dr. Bruce Prescott.]