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Department of Justice Announces Guidance on Religious Liberty Protections in Grant Programs

Following the Supreme Court’s opinion in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, today the Department of Justice issued guidance summarizing religious liberty protections applicable to organizations that participate in the Department’s grant programs. The guidance, an initiative of the Department’s Religious Liberty Task Force, reiterates the fundamental premise affirmed by the Supreme Court in Espinoza that “[t]he Free Exercise Clause . . . ‘protects religious observers against unequal treatment’ and against ‘laws that impose special disabilities on the basis of religious status.’” [1] For that reason, absent a compelling government interest, the Department shall not disqualify otherwise eligible recipients from a public benefit solely because of their religious character.

“The Department is pleased to work with a diverse array of organizations, including faith-based organizations, to provide critical services to our communities,” said Claire McCusker Murray, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General and co-Vice-Chair of the Religious Liberty Task Force. “We recognize that faith-based organizations may have questions or concerns about how they can provide these secular services while maintaining their religious character. The guidance released today is intended to answer those questions and help ensure that faith-based organizations can compete on an equal footing with secular organizations for Department grants.”

“The guidance is an important affirmation of the Department’s commitment to ensure that individuals and organizations driven by faith to serve the community are not subject to unequal treatment by virtue of their religious identity,” said Beth A. Williams, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy and co- Vice-Chair of the Religious Liberty Task Force.

As a corollary to the guidance, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), the Department’s largest grant-funding component, created a comprehensive webpage to provide information on federal law protections for faith-based and other organizations. The webpage also facilitates the submission of complaints if an organization believes that it has been discriminated against. OJP administers grant programs for a wide array of public safety initiatives. Last year alone, OJP awarded grants totaling over $5 billion.

In July 2018, the Department of Justice announced the formation of the Religious Liberty Task Force. The Task Force brings together department components to coordinate their work on religious liberty litigation and policy, and to implement the Attorney General’s 2017 Religious Liberty Guidance.

[1] Espinoza v. Mont. Dep’t of Revenue, No. 18-1195, 2020 WL 3518364, — U.S. — (U.S. June 30, 2020), slip op. at 5 (citation omitted).

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About R. Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News and the president of Bald Eagle Media, LLC. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Anomalous Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and

One comment


    The reality is, the left wants to separate followers from God. They think that by keeping the churches closed, or very limited, the faithful wiill loose their connection to the all powerful. That somehow we will loose our moral compass. What the left does not realize is that by closing or keeping the churches mostly empty, our faith, our Holy Spirit which dwells within us, just grows forever stronger. It also exposes those churches who make be weak in their faith to God, by not taking a stand, and pushing back on the tyranny. Those who had not faith before our current situation, are looking for answers. The more evil they see, and feel in their gut, the louder it becomes, the more Americans will look toward religion for the answer. By turning to God for mental peace, sanity and strength during this moral battle, Americans can keep themselves sane. Denying our constitutional rights to worship, wiill only make us stronger. God always wins, always.

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