TBogg

We filed your resume under “Going To Hell”

It’s revenge of the Jesus-crats:

One of the main jobs at the Justice Department is enforcing the nation’s civil rights laws. So when a nonprofit group was accused of employment discrimination last year in New York, the department moved swiftly to intervene — but not on the side one might expect.

The Salvation Army was accused in a lawsuit of imposing a new religious litmus test on employees hired with millions of dollars in public funds.

When employees complained that they were being required to embrace Jesus Christ to keep their jobs, the Justice Department’s civil rights division took the side of the Salvation Army.

Defending the right of an employer using public funds to discriminate is one of the more provocative steps taken by a little-known arm of the civil rights division and its special counsel for religious discrimination.

[…]

Judging from the cases and investigations the religious unit has launched, the new mission of the Justice Department is overwhelmingly focused on protecting the rights of religious organizations.

Eric Treene, the religious-discrimination special counsel, is the former litigation director of a nonprofit group, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The group has been active in suing schools and local governments on behalf of religious groups.

Treene, one of four special counsels in the civil rights division, has no staff and shares a secretary with two other Justice Department lawyers. But a former senior Justice official describes him as widely influential, bird-dogging cases he thinks the department should throw its weight behind and reaching out to religious groups for bias cases he believes the department should investigate.

[…]

In New York, the Salvation Army apparently had long operated without such entanglements, despite a history steeped in religious tradition. The international organization has provided social services to New Yorkers for decades. Its current contracts total about $50 million from the city and state of New York to provide foster care, HIV counseling and other services.

In 2003, according to a lawsuit filed by more than a dozen workers in its Social Services for Children division, the Salvation Army began requiring employees to divulge information about their faiths, including the churches they attended and their ministers.

They were also called on to embrace a new mission statement — included in job postings and job descriptions — that declared the top goal of the social welfare operation is “to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name without discrimination.” The previous mission statement was “to empower each person who enters our doors to live with dignity and hope,” and contained no religious references.

Protections against discriminatory employment practices were excised from the employee handbook, and an effort was made to compile a list of homosexual employees, according to the suit.

[…]

According to the complaint, the organization was concerned about “the widening gap between the ecclesiastical Salvation Army and the Social Service component of the Salvation Army” in the New York region.

But employees said the new policies would inevitably infuse religion into the services the welfare program had long provided — notably in areas such as abortion counseling and HIV prevention — that would conflict with their ethical duties as social workers to furnish proper care.

And because in many cases children and families are required by law to participate in the city-funded programs, they assert that would lead to precisely the sort of government-coerced religion that the Constitution prohibits. (my emphasis)

I guess this is just a case of creeping Jesusland.

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TBogg

TBogg

Yeah. Like I would tell you....