Yesterday in the Federal Register, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and eight other federal agencies published a final rule implementing “fundamental principles and policymaking criteria for partnerships with faith-based and other neighborhood organizations.” The final rule is effective on May 4; recipients of federal financial assistance must be in compliance by July 5.
A HUD press release posted on March 31 explains that the final rule provides new religious liberty protections for beneficiaries of its programs and activities. In addition, the rule ensures that faith-based providers can compete for government funds on the same basis as any other private organization. The rule clarifies what activities can and cannot be supported with direct federal financial assistance by replacing use of the term “inherently religious activities” with the term “explicitly religious activities” and providing examples of such activities.
“These regulations build on widespread agreement that we can and should do more to protect the religious liberty of beneficiaries and provide greater clarity and transparency about applicable church-state rules,” said Melissa Rogers, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. “These reforms will strengthen partnerships that serve people in need, and we commend the agencies for working together to issue these final regulations.”
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