EXECUTIVE
ORDER
EO 13279
Effective Date: December 16, 2002

Responsible Office: Office of General Counsel
Subject: Equal Protection of the Laws for a Faith-Based and Community Organizations

             
                Equal Protection of the Laws for Faith-Based and 
                Community Organizations


                By the authority vested in me as President by the 
                Constitution and the laws of the United States of 
                America, including section 121(a) of title 40, United 
                States Code, and section 301 of title 3, United States 
                Code, and in order to guide Federal agencies in 
                formulating and developing policies with implications 
                for faith-based organizations and other community 
                organizations, to ensure equal protection of the laws 
                for faith-based and community organizations, to further 
                the national effort to expand opportunities for, and 
                strengthen the capacity of, faith-based and other 
                community organizations so that they may better meet 
                social needs in America's communities, and to ensure 
                the economical and efficient administration and 
                completion of Government contracts, it is hereby 
                ordered as follows:


                Section 1. Definitions. For purposes of this order:


                    (a) ``Federal financial assistance'' means 
                assistance that non-Federal entities receive or 
                administer in the form of grants, contracts, loans, 
                loan guarantees, property, cooperative agreements, food 
                commodities, direct appropriations, or other 
                assistance, but does not include a tax credit, 
                deduction, or exemption.
                    (b) ``Social service program'' means a program that 
                is administered by the Federal Government, or by a 
                State or local government using Federal financial 
                assistance, and that provides services directed at 
                reducing poverty, improving opportunities for low-
                income children, revitalizing low-income communities, 
                empowering low-income families and low-income 
                individuals to become self-sufficient, or otherwise 
                helping people in need. Such programs include, but are 
                not limited to, the following:


  (i) child care services, protective services for children and adults, 
services for children and adults in foster care, adoption services, 
services related to the management and maintenance of the home, day care 
services for adults, and services to meet the special needs of children, 
older individuals, and individuals with disabilities (including physical, 
mental, or emotional disabilities);


  (ii) transportation services;


  (iii) job training and related services, and employment services;


  (iv) information, referral, and counseling services;


  (v) the preparation and delivery of meals and services related to soup 
kitchens or food banks;


  (vi) health support services;


  (vii) literacy and mentoring programs;


  (viii) services for the prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency 
and substance abuse, services for the prevention of crime and the provision 
of assistance to the victims and the families of criminal offenders, and 
services related to intervention in, and prevention of, domestic violence; 
and


  (ix) services related to the provision of assistance for housing under 
Federal law.


                    (c) ``Policies that have implications for faith-
                based and community organizations'' refers to all 
                policies, programs, and regulations, including official


[[Page 77142]]


                guidance and internal agency procedures, that have 
                significant effects on faith-based organizations 
                participating in or seeking to participate in social 
                service programs supported with Federal financial 
                assistance.
                    (d) ``Agency'' means a department or agency in the 
                executive branch.
                    (e) ``Specified agency heads'' mean the Attorney 
                General, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Education, 
                Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban 
                Development, and Labor, and the Administrator of the 
                Agency for International Development.


                Sec. 2. Fundamental Principles and Policymaking 
                Criteria.


                In formulating and implementing policies that have 
                implications for faith-based and community 
                organizations, agencies that administer social service 
                programs supported with Federal financial assistance 
                shall, to the extent permitted by law, be guided by the 
                following fundamental principles:


                    (a) Federal financial assistance for social service 
                programs should be distributed in the most effective 
                and efficient manner possible;
                    (b) The Nation's social service capacity will 
                benefit if all eligible organizations, including faith-
                based and other community organizations, are able to 
                compete on an equal footing for Federal financial 
                assistance used to support social service programs;
                    (c) No organization should be discriminated against 
                on the basis of religion or religious belief in the 
                administration or distribution of Federal financial 
                assistance under social service programs;
                    (d) All organizations that receive Federal 
                financial assistance under social services programs 
                should be prohibited from discriminating against 
                beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries of the social 
                services programs on the basis of religion or religious 
                belief. Accordingly, organizations, in providing 
                services supported in whole or in part with Federal 
                financial assistance, and in their outreach activities 
                related to such services, should not be allowed to 
                discriminate against current or prospective program 
                beneficiaries on the basis of religion, a religious 
                belief, a refusal to hold a religious belief, or a 
                refusal to actively participate in a religious 
                practice;
                    (e) The Federal Government must implement Federal 
                programs in accordance with the Establishment Clause 
                and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to 
                the Constitution. Therefore, organizations that engage 
                in inherently religious activities, such as worship, 
                religious instruction, and proselytization, must offer 
                those services separately in time or location from any 
                programs or services supported with direct Federal 
                financial assistance, and participation in any such 
                inherently religious activities must be voluntary for 
                the beneficiaries of the social service program 
                supported with such Federal financial assistance; and
                    (f) Consistent with the Free Exercise Clause and 
                the Free Speech Clause of the Constitution, faith-based 
                organizations should be eligible to compete for Federal 
                financial assistance used to support social service 
                programs and to participate fully in the social service 
                programs supported with Federal financial assistance 
                without impairing their independence, autonomy, 
                expression, or religious character. Accordingly, a 
                faith-based organization that applies for or 
                participates in a social service program supported with 
                Federal financial assistance may retain its 
                independence and may continue to carry out its mission, 
                including the definition, development, practice, and 
                expression of its religious beliefs, provided that it 
                does not use direct Federal financial assistance to 
                support any inherently religious activities, such as 
                worship, religious instruction, or proselytization. 
                Among other things, faith-based organizations that 
                receive Federal financial assistance may use their 
                facilities to provide social services supported with 
                Federal financial assistance, without removing or 
                altering religious art, icons, scriptures, or other 
                symbols from these facilities. In addition, a faith-
                based organization that applies for or participates in 
                a social service program supported with Federal 
                financial assistance may retain religious terms in its 
                organization's name,


[[Page 77143]]


                select its board members on a religious basis, and 
                include religious references in its organization's 
                mission statements and other chartering or governing 
                documents.


                Sec. 3. Agency Implementation.


                    (a) Specified agency heads shall, in coordination 
                with the White House Office of Faith-Based and 
                Community Initiatives (White House OFBCI), review and 
                evaluate existing policies that have implications for 
                faith-based and community organizations in order to 
                assess the consistency of such policies with the 
                fundamental principles and policymaking criteria 
                articulated in section 2 of this order.
                    (b) Specified agency heads shall ensure that all 
                policies that have implications for faith-based and 
                community organizations are consistent with the 
                fundamental principles and policymaking criteria 
                articulated in section 2 of this order. Therefore, 
                specified agency heads shall, to the extent permitted 
                by law:


  (i) amend all such existing policies of their respective agencies to 
ensure that they are consistent with the fundamental principles and 
policymaking criteria articulated in section 2 of this order;


  (ii) where appropriate, implement new policies for their respective 
agencies that are consistent with and necessary to further the fundamental 
principles and policymaking criteria set forth in section 2 of this order; 
and


  (iii) implement new policies that are necessary to ensure that their 
respective agencies collect data regarding the participation of faith-based 
and community organizations in social service programs that receive Federal 
financial assistance.


                    (c) Within 90 days after the date of this order, 
                each specified agency head shall report to the 
                President, through the Director of the White House 
                OFBCI, the actions it proposes to undertake to 
                accomplish the activities set forth in sections 3(a) 
                and (b) of this order.


                Sec. 4. Amendment of Executive Order 11246.


                Pursuant to section 121(a) of title 40, United States 
                Code, and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, 
                and in order to further the strong Federal interest in 
                ensuring that the cost and progress of Federal 
                procurement contracts are not adversely affected by an 
                artificial restriction of the labor pool caused by the 
                unwarranted exclusion of faith-based organizations from 
                such contracts, section 204 of Executive Order 11246 of 
                September 24, 1965, as amended, is hereby further 
                amended to read as follows:


                    ``SEC. 204 (a) The Secretary of Labor may, when the 
                Secretary deems that special circumstances in the 
                national interest so require, exempt a contracting 
                agency from the requirement of including any or all of 
                the provisions of Section 202 of this Order in any 
                specific contract, subcontract, or purchase order.
                    (b) The Secretary of Labor may, by rule or 
                regulation, exempt certain classes of contracts, 
                subcontracts, or purchase orders (1) whenever work is 
                to be or has been performed outside the United States 
                and no recruitment of workers within the limits of the 
                United States is involved; (2) for standard commercial 
                supplies or raw materials; (3) involving less than 
                specified amounts of money or specified numbers of 
                workers; or (4) to the extent that they involve 
                subcontracts below a specified tier.
                    (c) Section 202 of this Order shall not apply to a 
                Government contractor or subcontractor that is a 
                religious corporation, association, educational 
                institution, or society, with respect to the employment 
                of individuals of a particular religion to perform work 
                connected with the carrying on by such corporation, 
                association, educational institution, or society of its 
                activities. Such contractors and subcontractors are not 
                exempted or excused from complying with the other 
                requirements contained in this Order.
                    (d) The Secretary of Labor may also provide, by 
                rule, regulation, or order, for the exemption of 
                facilities of a contractor that are in all respects 
                separate


[[Page 77144]]


                and distinct from activities of the contractor related 
                to the performance of the contract: provided, that such 
                an exemption will not interfere with or impede the 
                effectuation of the purposes of this Order: and 
                provided further, that in the absence of such an 
                exemption all facilities shall be covered by the 
                provisions of this Order.''


                Sec. 5. General Provisions.


                    (a) This order supplements but does not supersede 
                the requirements contained in Executive Orders 13198 
                and 13199 of January 29, 2001.
                    (b) The agencies shall coordinate with the White 
                House OFBCI concerning the implementation of this 
                order.
                    (c) Nothing in this order shall be construed to 
                require an agency to take any action that would impair 
                the conduct of foreign affairs or the national 
                security.


                Sec. 6. Responsibilities of Executive Departments and 
                Agencies. All executive departments and agencies 
                (agencies) shall:


                    (a) designate an agency employee to serve as the 
                liaison and point of contact with the White House 
                OFBCI; and
                    (b) cooperate with the White House OFBCI and 
                provide such information, support, and assistance to 
                the White House OFBCI as it may request, to the extent 
                permitted by law.


                Sec. 7. Judicial Review.


                This order is intended only to improve the internal 
                management of the executive branch, and it is not 
                intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, 
                substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in 
                equity by a party against the United States, its 
                agencies, or entities, its officers, employees or 
                agents, or any person.


                    (Presidential Sig.)B


                THE WHITE HOUSE,


                    December 12, 2002.



		

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