Monday, April 28, 2008

Center urges court to protect equal access for religious charities seeking inclusion in Iowa state employee charitable campaign

The CLS Center filed a motion for preliminary injunction today in Association of Faith-Based Organizations v. Anderson to request the enjoining of the Iowa "One Gift" state employee charitable campaign requirements demanding that applying charities certify that they do not engage in religious activity, including advocacy for religious viewpoints.

Such certification requirements effectively exclude AFBO member religious charitable organizations that are honest and truthful about their religious expression; thus, these requirements deny equal treatment to religious charities.

One Gift includes over four hundred charities reflecting a variety of viewpoints to provide a broad range of choices for state employees to make voluntary donations via payroll deduction. The effective exclusion of charities that provide substantial services and also express religious viewpoints is puzzling and unconstitutional because they discriminate against religious viewpoints in violation of the Free Speech Clause and because they single out religion for special disfavor in violation of the Free Exercise Clause.

More information on AFBO v. Anderson will be available soon at the CLS website. See AFBO's website for general information on AFBO's work to protect the rights of faith-based organizations.