Dos and Don ts for Faith Based Organizations w log

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Dos and Don‘ts for Faith-Based Organizations: 

Dos and Don‘ts for Faith-Based Organizations Compassion Capital Fund

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

The area of church-state relations is complicated, and this presentation is not a comprehensive authoritative statement of the law. Specific programs may have some different requirements. For more information you may want to consult with a lawyer or the agency that administers your program. Faith-based Dos & Don’ts

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts Basic Constitutional Principles Primary effect of government – including state and local governments – actions cannot advance or inhibit religion. Cannot discriminate on the basis of religion and cannot burden the exercise of religion (without proper justification).

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts Basic Constitutional Principles As a general rule, government benefits must be administered by a neutral criteria that gives equal access to those with varied view points.

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts Basic Constitutional Principles 2 kinds of funding under the First Amendment of the Constitution: - Direct funding ( majority of funds) - Indirect funding (individual choice, vouchers)

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts Basic Constitutional Principles More restrictions on use of direct funding

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts President Bush’s Faith-based and Community Initiative Vision: Allow the most effective organizations, some of whom are faith-based, to provide compassionate care in partnership with the government.

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts President Bush’s Faith-based and Community Initiative Process: Level the playing field within the constitutional guidelines Guiding Principles: Promoting results; protecting religious integrity; making government funding social services available to all, regardless of religious affiliation

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts A Level Playing Field The question should not be: Does your organization have a religious name of mission?

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts A Level Playing Field Instead, it should be: Is your organization effective? Does your organization meet program requirements?

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts No government money for “inherently religious” activities “Don’t preach on Uncle Sam’s Dollar” No worship, religious instruction, or proselytization You can still conduct these activities with private funds

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts Keeping Religious Activities Separate Content Keep focused on program topics Time or location Hold inherently religious activities at a different time or location than government funded services Careful Accounting

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts Voluntary Participation Program participants may be invited to join in religious services or events but participation must be voluntary and decision can have no bearing on services delivered

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts Keeping the “Faith” in Faith-Based Religious Symbols Religious Name Board Members Mission Statement Religious Activities – so long as they are privately fund, separate, and voluntary

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts Can we use federal funds to pay our staff salaries? As long as the staff person spends their time on program activities – and not inherently religious activities – you can pay their salary. If a staffer splits time between a program and church activities, keep careful records.

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts If an organization receives a federal grant, can it choose not to provide services to some people on the basis of their religion? No. If you accept a federal grant, you must provide services to all who are eligible. You may not serve only persons of your faith and turn away others.

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts If someone asks me about my faith, can I share it with them? You may answer briefly. But if you wish to have a longer discussion, set up a time to speak with that person later. This keeps the program on track and avoids potentially using government funds for a religious activity.

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts What about religious activities that we have with our staff and volunteers – can the people we are helping participate? Yes, as long as the religious activities are privately funded: Staff and Volunteers may engage in religious activities. But make sure that the activity is voluntary for program participants.

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts Will we have to change the way we hire our employees? In most cases, no. The Civil Rights Act recognizes the right of religious groups to hire employees that share their same faith. Some programs may have different rules.

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts Can we buy religious materials with federal funds? No, no, no! Do not use government funds to buy religious materials. This applies not only to Bibles, Torahs, and Korans, but also to materials used for religious activities.

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts What happens if we violate any of these rules? Loss of grant funds Repay grant funds received You may be subject to legal action

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts What happens if we violate any of these rules? But remember – thousands of faith-based and community organizations use federal funds with no problems.

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts: 

Faith-based Dos & Don’ts More Questions? Review Guidance for Faith-Based and Community Organizations on Partnering with the Federal Government Contact TRANSFORM Project Manager

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