CFI Urges President Obama to Restore Religious Liberty Protections

For Immediate Release: June 21, 2011
Contact: Michelle Blackley, Communications Director - (207) 358-9785

This Saturday, in honor of the 70th anniversary of Executive Order 8802, the first executive order prohibiting employment discrimination in government contracts, the Center for Inquiry (CFI) is asking President Barack Obama to ensure this important civil rights protection extends to all government contracts, and to stop allowing religious organizations to discriminate against federally funded employees on the basis of religion.

In subsequent executive orders, Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson expanded the protections found in Executive Order 8802. Indeed, Executive Order 11246, signed by Johnson, prohibits discrimination in all government contracts. In 2002, however, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13279 carving out an exemption to 11246, allowing religious organizations that receive federal contracts to discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion.

“CFI is joining others in asking President Obama to restore religious liberty protections to all government contracts. When the government uses public money-your money-to pay for services and goods, it is unconscionable to allow some contractors to refuse to hire on the basis of religious beliefs. If an employee’s religious beliefs are essential for a contractor, then that contractor’s services or goods are not essential for the government,” said Ronald A. Lindsay, CFI President & CEO. “Urge President Obama to celebrate this landmark anniversary by stopping federally funded religious discrimination.”

Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-3) will host a press conference celebrating 70 years of this civil rights milestone and calling the for restoration of religious liberty protections at 3 PM Tuesday, at 2226 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC. He will be joined by other members of Congress. The briefing is open to the public.

Fully restoring basic civil rights protection by rescinding the language in Executive Order 13279 is an appropriate way to celebrate this landmark civil rights anniversary. President Obama should right the wrong President Bush committed when he rolled back these traditional safeguards and core civil rights protections. Tell President Obama to stop federally funded discrimination.

The Center for Inquiry is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization based in Amherst, New York; CFI is home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Our web address is


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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