Off The Record: On Religion, Politics & Equality
The Obama administration has failed to regulate discrimination by federally-funded faith-based organizations
By Andy Kopsa
I have been investigating and reporting on an anti-gay Christian political organization, the Iowa Family Policy Center (IFPC), for over a year now. The IFPC, a state affiliate of the Family Research Council*, a premier national anti-gay rights organization, has received over $3 million in government grants since 2005. When I began uncovering the ease with which the IFPC (and numerous other FRC state affiliates) applied for and received federal funding, coupled with their blatant anti-gay political message, I began investigating the history and mechanics of the faith-based funding system.
I, like many others, anxiously awaited President Obama’s executive order expected to revise George W. Bush’s policymaking and funding criteria for faith-based organizations. But the order released on November 17th offers little in the way of true reform. Instead it is a wordy regurgitation of existing transparency reformations, offers minor tweaks to protections of beneficiaries, does nothing for spending oversight reform and completely eschews legalized hiring discrimination allowed faith-based organizations.
In 2008, then candidate Obama said that although he supported funding faith-based programs, he would do away with hiring discrimination. However, like so many Obama promises, that is one yet to be fulfilled.