Christian Coalition of America: "Maloney Amendment Denies Religious Freedom Rights to Faith-based Organizations"

DATE: 5/26/16                                                                 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Media Relations
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Christian Coalition of America: "Maloney Amendment Denies Religious Freedom Rights to Faith-based Organizations" 

Washington, DC - Roberta Combs, President and CEO of Christian Coalition of America said that she was disappointed that the Maloney Amendment to the Energy and  Water Appropriations Act of 2017  --  which would effectively deny religious freedom rights to faith-based groups receiving federal grants such as the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities  --  was passed in the House of Representatives just before midnight last night.  The Maloney Amendment passed by a margin of 223-195.

However, Mrs. Combs said "I am encouraged that the Byrne Amendment protecting the religious freedom, the First Amendment rights of such Christian groups passed by a large majority:  233-186." Sexual orientation and 'gender identity' should not trump the religious freedom rights  -- including determining whom to hire  --  of faith-based organizations."

The Byrne Amendment to the energy spending bill was sponsored by Representative Bradley Byrne, R-AL.  It would simply reinforce support for the Religious Freedom Protection Act signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.  Furthermore, the Byrne Amendment would ensure that government contractors such as the Salvation Army will not lose their federal funding.

The religious freedom language in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 which the Maloney Amendment sought to strip out stated that: "The government cannot discriminate against religious groups that receive federal contracts."  Rep. Steve Russell, R-OK who authored that provision in the defense spending bill, said his language was a means of protecting religious freedom. Rep. Russell stated:  "Instead of upholding the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, we have now seen this body continue its assault on faith in America."

Christian Coalition of America does not seek government contracts, but it strongly opposes the Maloney Amendment.   Mrs. Combs said that Christian Coalition of America agrees with the statement of the Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, Congressman Bill Flores from Texas who said: "This country has a First Amendment that protects religious liberties. That's all we were doing."