Thursday, May 03, 2007

Pennsylvania religious groups allowed job placements

Pennsylvania religious groups allowed job placements


Ed Thomas and Jody Brown

May 3, 2007


A Christian college and a coalition of faith-based, non-profit service organizations have been granted the right to use government-funded job placement services after earlier being denied their use by the state of Pennsylvania.


Geneva College and the Association of Faith-Based Organizations (AFBO) were denied access to Pennsylvania's job placement services, which are funded by the federal government. According to a statement from Alliance Defense Fund and the Christian Legal Society (CLS), which co-filed suit for the groups, state and federal officials were concerned about a governmental "non-discrimination policy" prohibiting listing of religious staffing requirements.


ADF and CLS filed Geneva College v. Chao in U.S. District Court last December in response. Now plaintiff attorneys say the federal government and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have conceded that "the policy did not apply to Geneva College or AFBO's members, and they will no longer be prohibited from posting job listings."


Attorney Timothy Tracey with the CLS is pleased that both the federal government and the state of Pennsylvania have chosen to recognize the constitutional right of religious organizations to hire employees who share their beliefs and values. That right, he says, is "as central to that organization's mission as other viewpoints are to non-religious organizations." And it is wrong, he adds, to single out religious job requirements for exclusion from a public job listing simply because they are religious in nature.


Geneva College is a four-year private Christian college in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. The Association of Faith-Based Organizations, based in Springfield, Virginia, seeks to protect the constitutional freedom of religious organizations to staff and select members on a religious basis.


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