November 17, 2010
Contact: Nathan J. Diament – 202-513-6484
Orthodox Jewish Leader Welcomes Obama Executive Order Re: Faith-Based Initiative & Religious Liberty
“President Obama has advanced America’s social welfare sector and protected constitutional principles”
Today, President Barack Obama signed and issued a new Executive Order addressing issues of constitutional law and religious liberty principles relevant to the Federal Government’s interaction with faith-based social welfare organizations.
The Executive Order implements the recommendations on these matters which were made to the President several months ago by the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships.
Among the principles and policies set forth by the Executive Order – available at – are:
* “No organization should be discriminated against on the basis of religion…in the administration…of federal financial assistance”
* “All organizations that receive federal financial assistance should be prohibited from discriminating against beneficiaries…of the social service programs on the basis of religion.”
* “Organizations that engage in explicitly religious activities…must perform such activities…separately in time or location from any programs or services supported with direct federal assistance…”
* “A faith-bases organization that..participates in a social service program supported with federal financial assistance may retain its independence and continue to carry out its mission…”
* “Faith-based organizations…may use their facilities to provide social services supported with federal [funds] without removing or altering religious art, icons, scriptures or other symbols…”
The Executive Order also directs federal agencies to develop and implement robust protections for the religious liberties of the beneficiaries of federally funded social welfare programs.
Nathan Diament, director of public policy for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, and a member of the President’s Advisory Council, issued the following statement commenting on the Executive Order:
“I am very pleased with the Executive Order which President Obama has issued today. The Order adopts all of the key principles and recommendations that our Council put before the President. The Order thus champions fundamental constitutional principles, protects the religious liberties of individuals and promotes the effective and important partnerships the Federal government has with faith-based organizations.
Through this Executive Order, and the ongoing efforts of the White House’s ‘faith-based initiative,’ President Obama has advanced America’s social welfare sector and protected constitutional principles.”