Senate Passes CARE Act Without Crossing Church-State Barrier

Removal of "Charitable Choice" Provisions Smoothe Passage of Bill

Comments of People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas on the passage today of S. 476 also known as the “CARE Act of 2003.”

“I am pleased that the Senate passed Senator Grassley’s version of the CARE Act and did not include the dangerous ‘charitable choice’ provisions that weaken the barrier between church and state. These provisions, and others like them, could permit government funding of religious proselytizing, in direct violation of the establishment clause of the Constitution. The ‘charitable choice’ provisions would permit religious organizations receiving federal funding to practice hiring discrimination.”

“These constitutionally suspect provisions, introduced by Republican Senator Rick Santorum and his Democratic colleague Joseph Lieberman in earlier versions of the CARE Act, would pose a grave threat to the constitutional principle of church-state separation, and set a dangerous precedent for discrimination on the basis of religion. Indeed, President Bush has already included a number of such provisions in executive orders and regulations, damaging religious liberty and protections against government-funded discrimination. I hope that the House of Representatives follows the lead of the Senate in ensuring that the constitutionally dubious ‘charitable choice’ clauses are not included in their final legislation.”

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