CAAP applauds proposed Labor Department rule

Henderson, NV—August 15, 2019— Today, Rev. William Owens, President of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP), praised President Trump for taking action to protect the rights of religious organizations.

“This is a good day for freedom,” stated Rev. Owens. “President Trump promised to ensure that religious organizations would not be pressured or coerced into abandoning their principles. This proposed rule is proof that this president makes good on his word.”

Rev. Owens was referring to a new rule proposed by the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). In the effort to ensure that religious organizations which contract with the federal government are secure in the free exercise of their faith, the rule clarifies that, “religious organizations may make employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs without fear of sanction by the federal government.”

The proposed rule references the history of civil rights legislation protecting religious freedom as well as recent court decisions like Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores. Noting that such decisions are a reminder of the government’s duty, “to protect religious exercise – and not to impede it,” the proposed rule, “should be construed to provide the broadest protection of religious exercise permitted by the Constitution and other laws.”

Rev. Owens continued: “Until now, religious organizations were concerned that the federal government would use its power to coerce them into abandoning their principles if they wished to work with a federal agency. It was a nightmare scenario that treated faith, conscience, and convictions as inconveniences that should be cast aside for a government contract.”

“Fortunately, the president and his administration listened to our concerns and moved to correct this intrusion on our civil rights. Finally, people of faith have an assurance that they are not being pushed out of the public square and that their beliefs will be respected. Freedom of religion is the real civil rights battle of our time, and it’s good to see President Trump defend it,” Rev. Owens concluded.

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