Is it legal to openly hire someone of the same faith?

ECFA Policy Position Makes Case for Protecting Faith-Based Hiring Rights
— Document Released as Congress, Courts Question These Rights
Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

WINCHESTER, Va., — The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) has released a policy position that details the importance of preserving faith-based hiring rights for churches and other religious organizations at a time when Congress and the courts are questioning these rights.

The position on faith-based hiring rights describes how the right to hire employees who hold the same faith is essential not only to ECFA and its nearly 1,500 Christian member organizations, but all religious entities that adhere to explicit statements of faith as the foundation for their operations and services.

“Our agency helps accredit Christ-centered nonprofits that maintain public trust through adherence to our stringent Standards of Responsible Stewardship,” said Dan Busby, ECFA president. “Our members and others like them make numerous valued and vital contributions to society, and they rely on employees’ statements of faith to ensure those standards will be upheld.”

The release of ECFA’s policy position comes amid pending legislation in Congress that would impose hiring restrictions on religious charities receiving federal grants. It follows last month’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirming the rights of World Vision, an international Christian humanitarian organization, to hire people of like-minded faith.

To make its points, the policy paper draws on historic acts of Congress, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, as well as court decisions based on that legislation.

Central to ECFA’s arguments is the belief that the freedom of churches and other religious organizations to hire based on religion is a freedom acknowledged by government, protected as an exercise of religious freedom. This freedom must be safeguarded against illegitimate restrictions and must not be curtailed when government funding is received.

The ECFA position states that government curtailing of religious hiring freedom encroaches on identity and autonomy of religious groups. It wrongly limits these groups’ and churches’ ability to faithfully reflect and carry out their religious missions. “This is a violation of the government’s obligation not to prohibit the free exercise of religion,” the ECFA paper states.

Available for free viewing at, the policy position is the first in a series that ECFA will release in coming weeks. Topics also will include charitable deductions and tax-exempt status.

ECFA, founded in 1979, provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with the ECFA standards pertaining to financial accountability, fund-raising and board governance. For more information about ECFA, including accreditation and a listing of ECFA accredited members, visit or call (800) 323-9473.

To schedule an interview with Dan Busby, contact Ty Mays at (770) 256-8710 or
[email protected].

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