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Trump’s New Faith and Opportunity Initiative Would Allow Religious Bias in Federal Programs throughout Government

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Trump’s New Faith and Opportunity Initiative Would Allow Religious Bias in Federal Programs throughout Government

May 3, 2018, Washington, DC – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today labeled the latest executive order from President Trump as a means to further blur the separation between religion and government. NCJW CEO Nancy K. Kaufman released the following statement:

“A year ago, President Trump issued an executive order purportedly protecting religious freedom, but which was really an assault on the wall of separation between religion and state and on the rights of women and LGBTQ individuals. Today, President Trump followed up by issuing an executive order that created a Faith and Opportunity Initiative, which seeks to extend efforts of the federal government to give special consideration to faith based charities and organizations.“The initiative will also serve as the eyes and ears of the government in detecting and remedying alleged violations of religious rights, as defined by the Trump Administration. Even agencies without faith-based offices will be assigned a liaison to work with the Faith and Opportunity Initiative.

“The order also strikes the requirement that social service programs receiving federal funds refer potential beneficiaries to alternative providers if they decide not to provide services. This will have a deleterious effect on the health of already marginalized communities; for example, a faith-based health program can now turn away a transgender patient – or anyone to whom they object – seeking critical care without directing them elsewhere.

“A White House spokesperson was quoted stating that the federal government would now worry less ‘where the church-state barriers are,’ allowing government-religious partnerships to function ‘without all of these arbitrary concerns as to what is appropriate.’

“These efforts by the administration to ramp up its assault on the separation of religion and state leave NCJW more concerned than ever. This executive order further erodes the religious liberty protections guaranteed by the constitution, and we will oppose the implementation of these ideas in every possible arena.”

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. More information on Facebook and on Twitter at @NCJW.

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