Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination
The Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination, which resides within the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, is a litigation unit "designed to promote the expansion of theocracy in America." Called the Religious Rights Unit, it has "been intervening in case after case in a way designed to tear down the wall" of separation of church and state. 
On March 7, 2005, the Los Angeles Times' Richard B. Schmitt wrote "a major profile of the Religious Rights Unit's activities that should scare the pants off of anyone who believes that government's mission is secular, not religious. This indepth dissection ... reports that, 'Judging from the cases and investigations the religious unit has launched, the new mission of the Justice Department is overwhelmingly focused on protecting the rights of religious organizations.'" 
The paper notes the following disturbing cases in which the Justice Department's pro-religion branch has intervened: 
- It has come into court on behalf of the Salvation Army after a dozen workers in its Social Services for Children division filed a job-discrimination suite in federal court after they refused to embrace a new requirement that they pledge to "preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name."
- It has filed briefs in three separate lawsuits supporting the Child Envangelism Fellowship's right to establish "Good News Clubs in public elementary schools around the country in which children learn Bible stories and pray, among other activities."
- On a complaint from a group of lawyers who are religious primitives in Texas, the Justice Department launched a formal two-year investigation of Texas Tech University biology professor Michael Dini because he would not write letters of recommendation for students unless they affirmed a belief in the theory of evolution, which--as Dini pointed out--was to ensure his studets understood "the central, unifying principle of biology. This was the sixth Justice Department investigation launched after complaints by this group of Know-Nothing fundamenalist Christians.
Religious Rights Unit
Alan's News reported March 7, 2005, on the Religious Rights Unit at the DOJ:
- "For anyone surpised that the House passed a bill last week that would assure tax-payer-funded organizations' right to religiously discriminate in hiring, there's more precedent for unequal opportunity in the Justice Department's religious-rights unit: a branch of the civil rights division with its own special counsel. The Los Angeles Times reports that the three-year old unit has served as legal arm for the Bush administration's battle to rectify 'years of illegal discrimination against religious groups and their followers' by ... giving religious groups their own slice of discimination pie? The unit's decision to back the Salvation Army's use of a 'religious litmus test' in a discrimination case brought by 18 long-time employees, is one of the Justice Department's more controversial positions."
Related SourceWatch Resources
- American Civil Liberties Union
- civil liberties
- civil rights
- freedom of speech
- religion and empire
- Religious Left
- Religious Right
- The Bush Theocracy
Data & Profiles
- U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination website. Cases dating to February 2004.
- Becket Fund for Religious Liberty website.
- Civil Rights Division, TRAC, DOJ link.
- Ken Masugi, editor, "Faith-Based Not Bureaucracy-Bound. How Religious Institutions Can Fight Government Regulation" (54-page pdf booklet), Claremont Institute, 2004.
Articles & Commentary
- Chris Mooney, "W.'s Christian Nation. How Bush promotes religion and erodes the separation of church and state," The American Prospect, June 1, 2003.
- "Civil Rights Enforcement by Bush Administration Lags," TRAC Reports, 2004.
- Mary Mckee, "Group defends religious freedoms," Star-Telegram, March 28, 2004.
- "Civil Rights Enforcement Declines," Watching Justice, November 22, 2004.
- "Justice Department: R.R.U.," The Revealer, March 7, 2005.
- Revealer: Religious-Rights Unit, Alan's News, March 7, 2005.
- Richard B. Schmitt, "Justice Department Supports Religious Discrimination," Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2005.
- "Getting Justice for Persecuted Christians," Pandagon, March 8, 2005.
- "Bush's Justice Dept.'s New Pro-Theocracy Unit)," direland.typepad.com, March 8, 2005.
- "Department of Theology," Uncorrelated.com, March 9, 2005.