Press Releases

Department of Labor Strengthens Religious Liberty Protections for Faith-Based Organizations Partnering with Government

May 18, 2020

News Release
For Immediate Release: 5.18.20
Contact: Lacey McNiel,
Direct: 972-941-4453

Department of Labor Strengthens Religious Liberty Protections for Faith-Based Organizations Partnering with Government
New guidance protects religious organizations from discrimination  

Washington, DC—First Liberty Institute today commended United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) Secretary Eugene Scalia for issuing a directive and new guidance that protects religious liberty for faith-based organizations that partner with the federal government.  The Secretary’s actions reflect principles implemented by President Trump’s Executive Order 13798, “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.”

“Without these protections, religious organizations risk facing discrimination for making employment decisions that are consistent with their beliefs,” said Kelly Shackelford, President, CEO, and Chief Counsel for First Liberty Institute.  “Religious organizations should never be forced to abandon their religious character and mission in order to be eligible to contract with the federal government.  We applaud Secretary Scalia for working to ensure that religious organizations are treated on equal terms as other organizations.”

In September of 2019, First Liberty submitted a public comment supporting a DOL proposed rule that also protected religious liberty. First Liberty’s comment was signed by a number of national religious leaders such as Paula White, Senior Pastor of New Destiny Christian Center; Jack Graham, Senior Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church; Tim Clinton, President of the American Association of Christian Counselors; and Jentezen Franklin, Senior Pastor of Free Chapel.

The comment states in part: “Many religious ministries, charities, and other organizations stand ready to partner with the government to help individuals in need. This proposed rule not only protects their right to be free from anti-religious discrimination in the contracting process, but it also ensures that the government is free to contract with the entities that are best able to provide services to the public – regardless of religious affiliation.”

Religious organizations, like their secular counterparts, provide essential services desirable to federal agencies through government contracts.  Among several religious liberty protections, the new guidance ensures that religious organizations seeking to contract with the federal government are free to do so on equal terms as other organizations.

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 About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Lacey McNiel at or by calling 972-941-4453.

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