In what could be a blow to President Bush's faith-based initiative, the Washington Post reports that an internal Salvation Army document dated May 1 indicates that the White House may be working to enable religious charities to implement discriminatory hiring practices against gays and lesbians.
According to the document obtained by the Post, the , the nation's largest charity, has pledged to publicly promote the president's faith-based plan in exchange for a "firm commitment" from the White House to instate a directive designed to deter states and localities from blocking religious organizations' right to discriminate against gays and lesbians in hiring and domestic benefits procedures.
"It is important that the [Salvation] Army's support for the White House's activities occur simultaneously with efforts to achieve the Army's objectives," the document states. "The White House has already said that they are committed to move on the Army's objectives when the legislation carrying the charitable choice provisions passes the House of Representatives."
The president's proposal, which was recently approved by the House Judiciary Committee, states that faith-based social service groups would not be allowed to discriminate on the basis of color, race, national origin, sex, disability, or age — but mentions nothing about sexual orientation. The Post reports that the Salvation Army estimates it will spend $88,000 to $110, 000 a month on efforts to promote Bush's faith-based plan.