January 23, 2003
The just-announced proposal to grant federal money to build, reconstruct and rehabilitate houses of worship through the Department of Housing and Urban Development has a public comment period through March 7, 2003.
There has never been a better time for a public outcry!
To learn more about the scheme, go to:
The Federal Register (Monday, January 6, 2003) containing the proposals for "Participation in HUD Programs by Faith Based Organizations" can be accessed online at the following mirror site:
You can also call HUD in D.C. at 202/708-3055 and ask for Brenda Johnson or another assistant in the counsel office to fax or mail you a copy.
To read the New York Times coverage (you may need to register, which is free, to read this), go to:
The public is invited to submit comments on this proposed rule to the Office of the Rules Docket Clerk, Office of General Counsel, Room 10276, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street, SW, Washington DC 20410-0500.
Communications should refer to Docket No. FR-4782-P-01 and the title: "Participation in HUD Programs by Faith-Based Organizations; Providing for Equal Treatment of All HUD Program Participants." Faxes and emailed comments are not accepted.
Please write the HUD office as soon as possible. Letters go into the public record. (Letters to the editor are also urged.) We suggest that Foundation members do not specifically protest the fact that this rule would permit "faith-based" hiring discrimination, as this factor makes the regulation easier to challenge in court. (Give them enough legal rope . . .) We urge you to protest the many other ways in which this proposal would eviscerate the Establishment Clause and the many practical barriers to any kind of public accountability or oversight. As always, write as an individual, not as a member of FFRF.
We would be pleased to see copies of your letters, if convenient. Send to: Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF, PO Box 750, Madison WI 53701.