CFI Meets with White House Officials on Discrimination in Education


July 1, 2020

On June 30, CFI’s Director of Government Affairs, Jason Lemieux, organized a joint meeting with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to discuss a proposal that would allow religious organizations to discriminate against nonbelievers in federally funded education services. This is CFI’s second such meeting with White House officials on this and similar proposals at other agencies.

The new regulation, proposed by the Department of Education, would allow “faith-based organizations” to accept federal grant funding for public service projects while forcing nonbelievers to participate in religious services or turning away nonbelievers who seek the public services they are providing.

The proposal also eliminates critical church-state protections including the requirement that faith-based organizations that accept these funds must provide a referral to an alternative, secular service provider upon request.

Representatives from American Atheists and the American Humanist Association joined CFI in explaining to OMB that the proposal would unacceptably harm the right of nonbelieving Americans to access public services on an equal, religion-free basis.

When a federal agency proposes a new regulation, the proposal must be reviewed and approved by OMB before it can be enacted. If OMB approves this proposal, the Department of Education will issue a final rule.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at centerforinquiry.org.