Faith-Based SCHIP

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SCHIP.jpegHoward Friedman has noticed that the Senate-approved version of SCHIP, which is expected to pass the House later this week, provides for grants to faith-based providers “consistent with the requirements of … 42 U.S.C. 300x–65 relating to a grant award to nongovernmental entities.” And according to my reading of the reg, that means that such grants come with the Title VII waiver permitting faith-based providers to discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion.
Now, among the things funded under SCHIP is substance-abuse treatment. And nowhere is the issue of employment discrimination more important than here. Why? Because faith-based substance-abuse programs–not so much AA and its kin but of the evangelical kind–are very often predicated on bringing clients to Christ as the “treatment modality.” That’s why it’s crucial to them that they be able to hire their own kind. The idea that public monies should be going to such programs is, ah, problematic. But leaving that aside, here would seem to be a place for the new administration to deal with the president’s campaign promise not to permit employment discrimination under faith-based social service provision. It doesn’t seem kosher to let this bill just slide on through without comment. Yo, Bobby Scott!
P.S. If you care to send a comment to the White House on this, here’s where.