Following the passage of the CARES Act we reached out to Senator Ernst and Grassley’s office to dig into potential strings attached in regards to religious liberty. We were thankful for how quickly they responded and for their work in putting religious liberty protections in place.
SBA Loans, which non-profits are eligible for has a civil rights provision that reads: “Civil Rights(13 C.F.R. 112, 113, 117) – All businesses receiving SBA financial assistance must agree not to discriminate in any business practice, including employment practices and services to the public on the basis of categories cited in 13 C.F.R., Parts 112, 113, and 117 of SBA Regulations.”
The Civil Rights codes says that religion cannot be considered in regards to employment. This could obviously have negative impacts on the Church, as they often consider religious beliefs when hiring someone.
This was remedied as SBA came out with the following administrative language:
“All loans guaranteed by the SBA pursuant to the CARES Act will be made consistent with constitutional, statutory, and regulatory protections for religious liberty, including the First Amendment to the Constitution, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000bb-1 and bb-3, and SBA regulation at 13 C.F.R. 113.3-1h, which provides:
“Nothing in [SBA nondiscrimination regulations] shall apply to a religious corporation, association, educational institution or society with respect to the membership or 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 religious activities.” SBA intends to promptly issue additional guidance with regard to religious liberty protections under this program. “
This language gives us great confidence that religious institutions will be protected.