Action Alert

TAKE ACTION: Eight federal agencies seek rule changes to weaponize “religious liberty”

Eight extremely influential federal agencies have proposed changes to the rules governing how they work with religious organizations. Under the guise of protecting “religious liberty,” the goal of these eight proposals is to allow faith-based organizations to receive federal funding without complying with nondiscrimination laws. 

If these rules are implemented, they will mandate taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religious belief. For example, one proposal would allow the VA to fund religious projects that discriminate against the one-quarter of U.S. veterans who are not religious. 

The negative ramifications of these proposals would be widespread. Allowing these rule changes to take effect would give taxpayer-funded government agencies a dangerous amount of discretion to administer public services to only those people who align with their religious beliefs. By funding discrimination in the name of God, the government will be funding religion. 

We are asking you to submit a comment on each of these proposed rule changes. Unfortunately, due to the process by which the federal government accepts public comments on these sorts of regulations, this is not a process we can automate, but if you follow the steps below, we hope to simplify it as much as possible.

FFRF has submitted official comments on each of these eight proposals. For more details on each department's rule changes, you can find FFRF's letter linked under each heading.

STEPS TO COMMENT:

  • Click on the link that says “Click here to comment” under each proposed rule in this email. You will be taken to the Federal Register page pertaining to the corresponding rule proposal.
  • Click on the green button in the upper righthand corner that says “Submit a Formal Comment.”
  • Fill out the corresponding comment form. We have provided suggested talking points for each department’s proposed changes. Feel free to copy and paste the suggested message. Personalized comments are most influential.

All comments are due by Tuesday, Feb. 18th! The Trump administration released all these rules at one time hoping to overwhelm us into inaction. They don’t want you to comment in opposition, but we do. We must heed every opportunity to hold this theocratic administration accountable for degrading state/church separation.


1. Department of Veterans Affairs
ID: VA-2020-VACO-0003-0001
RIN:  2900-AQ75
FFRF's submitted comment.

Comment Suggestion:
I strongly oppose the Department of Veterans Affairs proposed rule because it unfairly favors taxpayer-funded religious organizations over the people that government programs are intended to help. No one should be forced to sacrifice their religious freedom in order to qualify for basic government-funded services. 

The proposed rule will undermine access to critical services, such as education and training, counseling, community living facilities, and many other programs for veterans. The rule eliminates key religious freedom protections for participants while inviting employment discrimination by the government-funded service providers that are supposed to be serving everyone. 

This proposed rule is discriminatory and dangerous. In America, no one’s ability to get vital services should depend on whether they share the religious beliefs of government-funded organizations. Please withdraw this harmful rule in its entirety.


CLICK HERE TO COMMENT


 2. USDA

ID: USDA_FRDOC_0001-2157

RIN: 0510-AA08
FFRF's submitted comment.

Comment Suggestion:
I strongly oppose the USDA’s proposed rule because it unfairly favors taxpayer-funded religious organizations over the people that government programs are intended to help. No one should be forced to sacrifice their religious freedom in order to qualify for basic government-funded services. 

The proposed rule will undermine access to critical services for youth such as school lunch programs and 4-H development and mentoring programs. The rule eliminates key religious freedom protections for participants while inviting employment discrimination by the government-funded service providers that are supposed to be serving everyone. 

This proposed rule is discriminatory and dangerous. In America, no one’s access to vital services should depend on whether they share the religious beliefs of government-funded organizations. Please withdraw this harmful rule in its entirety.


CLICK HERE TO COMMENT


 3. Department of Justice

ID: DOJ-OAG-2020-0001-0001
RIN: 1105-AB56
FFRF's submitted comment.

Comment Suggestion:
I strongly oppose the Department of Justice’s proposed rule because it unfairly favors taxpayer-funded religious organizations over the people that government programs are intended to help. No one should be forced to sacrifice their religious freedom in order to qualify for basic government-funded services. 

The proposed rule will undermine access to critical services, such as assistance for crime victims, prisoner rehabilitation, mentorship programs for at-risk youth, and assistance for trafficked youth. The rule eliminates key religious freedom protections for participants while inviting employment discrimination by the government-funded service providers that are supposed to be serving everyone.

This proposed rule is discriminatory and dangerous. In America, no one’s ability to get vital services should depend on whether they share the religious beliefs of government-funded organizations. Please withdraw this harmful rule in its entirety.


CLICK HERE TO COMMENT


 4. Department of Health and Human Services

ID: HHS_FRDOC_0001-0752
RIN: 0991-AC13
FFRF's submitted comment. 

Comment Suggestion:
I strongly oppose HHS’s proposed rule because it unfairly favors taxpayer-funded religious organizations over the people that government programs are intended to help. No one should be forced to sacrifice their religious freedom or civil rights in order to qualify for basic government-funded services. 

The proposed rule will undermine access to critical services, such as homeless youth programs, sex education programs, food assistance, refugee support programs, substance abuse programs, foster care and adoption services, assistance for trafficked youth, and countless others. HHS is the largest grant-making agency, so this broad rule would potentially cause millions of Americans to lose access to the services they need. 

This proposed rule is discriminatory and dangerous. In America, no one’s ability to get vital services should depend on whether they share the religious beliefs of government-funded organizations. Please withdraw this harmful rule in its entirety.

CLICK HERE TO COMMENT


5. Department of Education

ID: ED-2019-OPE-0080-0001
RIN: 2019-26937
FFRF's submitted comment.

Comment Suggestion: 

I strongly oppose the Department of Education’s proposed rule because it unfairly favors taxpayer-funded religious organizations over the people that government programs are intended to help. No one should be forced to sacrifice their religious freedom or civil rights in order to qualify for basic government-funded services. 

For example, the rule would eliminate religious freedom protections for college prep and work-study programs intended to help high school students from low-income families prepare for college. This would also impact federally funded afterschool and summer learning programs for students in high-poverty, low-performing schools. 

This proposed rule is discriminatory and dangerous. In America, no one’s ability to get an education should depend on whether they share the religious beliefs of government-funded organizations. Please withdraw this harmful rule in its entirety.

CLICK HERE TO COMMENT


6. USAID

ID: AID_FRDOC_0001-0328
RIN: 0412-AA99
FFRF's submitted comment.

Comment Suggestion:
I strongly oppose the USAID’s proposed rule because it unfairly favors taxpayer-funded religious organizations over the people that government programs are intended to help. No one should be forced to sacrifice their religious freedom in order to qualify for basic government-funded services. 

USAID funds foreign aid and development projects to assist impoverished nations, to foster goodwill towards America, and to enhance global stability. But under this rule, the primary focus would instead be to allow religious providers to get access to these funds. After the recent media report detailing how Vice President Pence improperly directed government money to religious foreign aid organizations, it is very clear what this administration intends. 

The rule eliminates key religious freedom protections for participants while inviting employment discrimination by the government-funded service providers that are supposed to be serving everyone. American taxpayers should not be funding foreign proselytization efforts by religious grantees, and no one’s ability to get vital services should depend on whether they share the religious beliefs of government-funded organizations. Please withdraw this harmful rule in its entirety.


CLICK HERE TO COMMENT


7. Department of Labor

ID: DOL_FRDOC_0001-1441    

RIN: 1291-AA41

FFRF's submitted comment.

 
Comment Suggestion:

I strongly oppose the Department of Labor’s proposed rule because it unfairly favors taxpayer-funded religious organizations over the people that government programs are intended to help. No one should be forced to sacrifice their religious freedom or civil rights in order to qualify for basic government-funded services. 

The proposed rule will undermine access to critical services, such as employment training programs for older Americans, youth summer programs, and re-integration programs for homeless veterans. The rule eliminates key religious freedom protections for participants while inviting employment discrimination by the government-funded service providers that are supposed to be serving everyone. 

This proposed rule is discriminatory and dangerous. In America, no one’s ability to get vital services should depend on whether they share the religious beliefs of government-funded organizations. Please withdraw this harmful rule in its entirety.

CLICK HERE TO COMMENT


 8. Department of Homeland Security

ID DHS-2019-0049-0001
RIN 1601-AA93
FFRF's submitted comment.

Comment Suggestion:
I strongly oppose the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed rule because it unfairly favors taxpayer-funded religious organizations over the people that government programs are intended to help. No one should be forced to sacrifice their religious freedom in order to qualify for basic government-funded services. 

The proposed rule will undermine access to critical services, such as emergency preparedness training and programs, disaster recovery programs, and citizenship instructions and resources for immigrants. The rule eliminates key religious freedom protections for participants while inviting employment discrimination by the government-funded service providers that are supposed to be serving everyone.

This proposed rule is discriminatory and dangerous. In America, no one’s ability to get vital services should depend on whether they share the religious beliefs of government-funded organizations. Please withdraw this harmful rule in its entirety.

 
CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

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