Washington D.C., Dec 14, 2020 / 15:55 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Nine federal agencies announced Monday a new rule aimed at protecting the First Amendment rights of religiously-affiliated organizations.
The Departments of Education, Justice, Homeland Security, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, and Veterans Affairs, along with the Agency for International Development, will now ensure that organizations receive equal treatment in programs their departments support, regardless if they are affiliated with a religion.
The new rule was written in response to the May 2018 Executive Order 13831 “Establishment of a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative.” Earlier draft rules were published in January. Nearly 100,000 comments were received from the public, members of Congress, and other organizations regarding the new policy.
The rule “clarifies that religious organizations do not lose their legal protections and rights just because they participate in federal programs and activities,” said a Dec. 14 release from the Department of Education.
“Religious liberty is a bedrock founding principle that this Administration consistently demonstrates its commitment to vigorously defend,” said Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Monday.