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Department of Justice Announces Joint Final Rule Regarding Equal Treatment of Faith-Based Organizations in Department-Supported Social Service Programs

Department of Justice Announces Joint Final Rule Regarding Equal Treatment of Faith-Based Organizations in Department-Supported Social Service Programs

The Department of Justice announced a joint final rule with eight other Agencies — the Agency for International Development and the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and Veterans Affairs — to implement President Trump’s Executive Order No. 13831, on the Establishment of a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative (May 3, 2018).  This rule ensures that religious and non-religious organizations are treated equally in DOJ-supported programs, and it clarifies that religious organizations do not lose their legal protections and rights just because they participate in federal programs and activities. 

“The freedom to exercise religious beliefs is a cornerstone of our Constitution and the federal government must uphold this right for all Americans.  The Constitution and Federal statutes require all agencies of government to treat religious groups fairly,” said Attorney General William P. Barr.  “This joint final rule is another in a long line of steps this Administration has taken to restore and protect religious liberty and ensure equal treatment for people of faith.”  

This final rule ensures equal treatment for faith-based organizations, consistent with the Constitution and other federal law.  It removes requirements in prior regulations that placed unequal burdens on religious organizations, cast unwarranted suspicion on them, and were in tension with their religious liberty rights.  This final rule also clarifies that religious organizations do not lose various legal protections because they participate in federal programs and activities, such as the rights to accommodations and conscience protections under the First Amendment, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and other federal laws. 

This final rule preserves most of the existing regulations governing participation of ...

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