The Department of Housing and Urban Development is considering changes to the rules governing how it works with religious organizations. Under the guise of protecting “religious liberty,” this proposal would allow faith-based groups to receive federal funding for various housing programs without complying with nondiscrimination laws.
If this rule is implemented, it will mandate taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religious belief. For example, faith-based organizations receiving taxpayer funds through HUD would be allowed to turn away people in need because of a group’s religious objection to a person’s sexual orientation or single parenthood. By funding discrimination in the name of God, the government will be funding religion. The proposed rule also removes protections for HUD beneficiaries who are among society’s most vulnerable: the homeless, the disabled, the low-income elderly. Currently, those who participate in HUD programs can count on their government-funded provider to alert them of any religious affiliation and, if someone objects to receiving a government benefit from a religious organization, this organization must help to find an alternative provider. HUD is trying to remove both of these protections without even attempting to give a justification.
FFRF submitted its own comment opposing this rule today, which you can review here.
If this all sounds familiar, it’s because eight other federal agencies are in the process of implementing similar rules. In February, we asked you to oppose that rush of proposed regulations. Ben Carson’s HUD was late to the discrimination party, so now we are asking you to oppose this rule, as well.
Please take a few minutes to submit a comment on this proposed rule change. Unfortunately, due to the process by which the federal government accepts these public comments, this is not a process we can automate. But if you follow the steps below, we hope to simplify it as much as possible. And your comments count, and could be useful in future litigation as well!
STEPS TO COMMENT:
Click on the red "Take action" link below, which goes to the official comment page.
Fill out the corresponding comment form. We have provided suggested talking points below. Feel free to copy and paste the suggested message. Personalized comments are most influential.
Make sure your comment includes this RIN Number: 2501-AD91.
All comments are due by Monday, April 13! The Trump administration released a rush of these rules at one time hoping to overwhelm us into inaction. It doesn'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.
Suggested talking points:
I strongly oppose HUD’s proposed rule because it unfairly favors taxpayer-funded religious organizations over the people that government programs are intended to help. Individuals shouldn’t 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 for some of society’s most vulnerable citizens, including housing for the elderly and people with disabilities. It removes beneficiary protections for no reason and allows faith-based providers to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate against recipients and their own employees, while receiving taxpayer funds.
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.