The Lamp

Where truth can be shared.

Florida Employees Win Right to Make Religious Donations

Posted by thelamp on February 16, 2007

Florida state employees are now allowed to now contribute to faith-based charities through the state’s Charitable Campaign. They had to fight for that right. A lawsuit filed in federal court on their behalf by the Christian Legal Society and Alliance Defense Fund was settled last week.

Attorneys for the pair of First Amendment-law coalitions defended the constitutional rights of state employees who are also Christians, as well as the rights of religious groups. Previously, Florida State Employees Charitable Campaign rules included restrictions preventing employees from giving to groups professing belief in God. This also put organizations in the untenable position of limiting their religious focus in order to benefit from the campaign.

One rule stated that an organization participating in the campaign “could not engage in any religious activities” or discriminate in its employment practices on the basis of religion. This restriction essentially prevented participating Christian groups from hiring according to their standard of belief.

The employees were justified in their legal action. As part of the settlement, authorities in charge of the charitable campaign have amended the regulations. Under a new agreement, religious charities will not be excluded from the campaign because of their viewpoints or activities, nor will their right to hire staff of their own choosing be restricted.

Such a result would not have been reached if Christians meekly accepted the disregard for their constitutional rights. This is a perfect example of how important it is for Christians to speak up in order to shape the culture in which they live.

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