(photo credit: buyitinisrael.com)
WASHINGTON -- Orthodox Jewish groups joined a letter pushing back against an appeal supported by other Jewish groups that urged US President Barack Obama to reinstate bans against religion-based hiring.
"Religious hiring by religious organizations is not a deviation from the great civil rights legacy of the United States but rather a distinctive and vital feature of it," said the letter sent July 12 to the White House. "Vital because it protects the religious freedom of religious organizations."
The letter was signed by at least four Orthodox Jewish groups, including
Agudath Israel of America and the National Council of Young Israel,
among more than 40 religious organizations.
Earlier appeals to Obama to reinstate the ban on discriminatory hiring
for religious groups have come from the Coalition Against Religious
Discrimination, which includes among over 50 groups, including the
Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the Reform
President Lyndon Johnson signed an executive order in 1965, prohibiting
discrimination in government contracts. In 2002, President George W.
Bush amended the order by signing an exemption for religious
Opponents of the exemption say it allows groups to discriminate in areas
where religious agreement with the hiring body should not be paramount
-- for instance, allowing a conservative Christian church to fire a gay
Supporters say a total ban would force Roman Catholics, for instance, to ordain women priests against the church's dictates.