With many Americans struggling through the recession, charities are stepping up to assist those suffering the worst. Unfortunately, faith-based organizations face difficulty when applying for federal funding due to religious limitations imposed by the government. This week, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced a bill that makes access to federal funds easier for religious charities.
Known as the Lifting Local Communities Act, a specific goal of the bill is that faith-based organizations do not need to compromise their beliefs in order to receive grants. This includes independence from government, and retaining religious naming, use of facilities, and religious imagery. Additionally, religious charities would not require assurances or notices secular charities do not need when applying for federal assistance.
The relationship between faith-based organizations and the government has been long been difficult. One example in recent memory was the long-fought case of the Little Sisters of the Poor beginning in 2011. The Catholic charity refused to include health insurance mandates requiring contraception coverage for its members. The Supreme Court battle only ended a decade later under the Trump administration, when he expanded exceptions to the "contraception mandate" that the Supreme Court held valid. But with Biden in charge, Trump's expansion could be undone.
Hence why Rubio introduced the Lifting Local Communities Act. "This bill would ensure that faith-based organizations do not have to compromise their beliefs to provide critical social services to those in need," Rubio comments in his press release. The bill has received praise from several religious organizations.
CatholicVote President Brian Burch says "Catholic Charities is fighting in the courts, legislatures and public arena to preserve their adoption services against new legal pressures to close their doors because they abide by Catholic doctrine," and that "the welfare of children should always trump the audacity of political correctness."
Similarly, Family Research Council Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Travis Weber is quoted as saying, "no organization should be told that it cannot help their community simply because of their religious beliefs."
Co-sponsors of the bill include Senators Rick Scott (R-FL), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), James Lankford (R-OK), and Tim Scott (R-SC).