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Discrimination Forbidden: Religious Discrimination

EDITORS' NOTE: Congressman Purcell (D., Tex.) introduced an amendment permitting church-affiliated schools and colleges to hire employees on the basis of religion if they care to do so. The amendment was adopted in the House by a voice vote and is incorporated in Section 703(e)(2) of the Act.

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Amendment offered by Mr. PURCELL: Page 70, line 4, insert "(1)" immediately following "title," and immediately before the period in line 10 on page 70 insert the following: ", and (2) it shall not be an unlawful employment practice for a school, college, university, or other educational institution or institution of learning to hire and employ employees of a particular religion if such school, college, university, or other educational institution or institution of learning is, in whole or in substantial part, owned, supported, controlled, or managed by a particular religion or by a particular religious corporation, association, or society, or if the curriculum of such school, college, university, or other educational institution or institution of learning is directed toward the propagation of a particular religion"

Mr. PURCELL. Mr. Chairman, this amendment is being offered to provide protection to the organized religious groups in this country from action by the Federal Government under the provisions of title VII of this bill.

I am sure that it is not the intention of those who are supporting this bill to subject religious organizations or church groups to a requirement of hiring employees from outside their particular faith or belief. Evidence of the effort to protect these groups is found in the language of section 703. This section, as you will recall, exempted any "religious corporations, associations, and societies." Again, in section 704, the language indicates an intent to protect

church-related organizations, when they have jobs involving a "bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to a normal operation."

In my study of the bill, I discovered that generally the church-affiliated schools and colleges are not protected by these two attempts to exempt them.

Almost without exception, the term "religious corporation" would not include church-affiliated schools unless this definition should receive the most liberal possible interpretation by the courts. Actually most church-related schools are chartered under the general corporation statutes as nonprofit institutions for the purpose of education.

The same problem exists in section 704(e) as it now reads. A church-affiliated school could probably easily defend the choice of a professor of religion, a professor of philosophy, or even a professor in the social science department, on the basis of religious background and church membership. I believe, however, 7 that a court could easily choose to interpret this law in such a way that the failure of a church-affiliated school to hire an atheist for the job of chemistry professor could subject that school to legal action.

It might be equally difficult to prove that a specific religious background would be a "bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary." in the hiring of a dean of students, or a director of a dormitory, or even the supervisor of library materials.

The church-affiliated schools should have the right to hire employees on the basis of religion if they choose to do so.

Should there be any doubt that these church-related schools come under this bill as "affecting commerce." I would like to call your attention to the fact

that these schools: First, sell research projects to both the U.S. Government and private enterprise; second, they sell radio and TV rights to their athletic contests; third, they sell pamphlets. books, and text materials; and, fourth some of them own stocks and govern. ment bonds.

The National Labor Relations Board has found several times that colleges qualify under the commerce clause as "affecting commerce."

There may be some who feel that it would be an unwise policy for a churchaffiliated school to restrict itself only to members of its own church for its employees, but certainly it should be their right to do so.

Failure to specifically exempt churchaffiliated schools could subject them to legal action that should never have to happen. The church-related school should never be called upon to defend itself for failure to hire an atheist or a member of a different faith. Also the school should not be called upon to prove in a legal action that it is protected by a provision of this bill. It should be so spelled out that there is no question of their right to hire employees on the basis of religion.

Failure to be sure that church schools are exempt would be failure to continue the recognized policy of keeping churches and church activities free from Federal controls. Failure to provide specifically for the exemption of church schools as given in my amendment would be an intrusion on the right to freedom of religion and would be a violation of the principle of separation of church and state.

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mission, I am sure, is to propagate the belief of the denomination that is supporting that educational institution; yes, sir.

Mr. EDMONDSON. If I understand the exemption correctly, it would apply only to selections which they make of personnel on the basis of religion; is that correct?


It would be only on the basis of religion. It does not touch color, race, or country of origin, or any other aspect.

Mr. EDMONDSON. I thank the gentleman, and will support the amendment.

Mr. GATHINGS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. PURCELL. I yield to the gentle


Mr. GATHINGS. Mr. Chairman, I support the gentleman's amendment and wholeheartedly hope that the amendment will be adopted. Religious institutions should not be subjected to domination or control of the Equal Employment Commission or any governmental body in connection with the hiring of faculty members or any employees or in any way interfere with the policies of the religious organization. There should be complete separation of church and state.

Mr. PURCELL. I thank the gentle


Mr. CELLER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas Mr. PurCELL would broaden the exemption of section 704(a) which provides that where religion or national origin is a bona fide occupational qualification and reasonably necessary to the normal operation of a particular business or enterprise, the provisions of title VII shall not apply.

Section 704 (e) seems clearly to exempt teaching and administrative positions in religious, educational institutions, and the amendment therefore is unnecessary with respect to these classifications.

However, insofar as the gentleman's amendment would also exempt nonadministrative and nonteaching personnel, the amendment goes too far.

Now we cannot object to any bona fide occupational qualifications for positions like professors, teachers, experts, research assistants, registrars, deans, or directors of dormitories. We exempt them under the present wording of the statute, but the gentleman goes further. and he would exempt nonadministrative and nonteaching personnel and practi

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cally all personnel or employees of a particular organization.

He would exempt, for example, janitors. He would exempt laborers. For that reason-because it would go too far-and for the further reason that the wording of the provision in the bill is ample for the purposes. I feel I must oppose the amendment.

Mr. McCULLOCH. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

I yield to the gentle

Mr. CELLER. man from Ohio.

Mr. MCCULLOCH. The chairman has carefully and accurately analyzed the legislation as is and he has carefully and accurately analyzed the amendment. I am of the opinion that it is not within the intent, the spirit, and the purpose of the legislation as written and as understood by an overwhelming majority of the House to change that concept. In my opinion, the amendment should be rejected.

Mr. HARRIS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield for a question?

Mr. CELLER. I yield to the gentleman from Arkansas.

Mr. HARRIS. As an example, let us suppose that Ouachita Baptist College in my district received an application from a person who happened to be an atheist for a position of janitor. Suppose that the college determined it would not be a proper employee. Suppose he made a complaint. Would the Commission then have authority to investigate and take action?

Mr. CELLER. Religion is not, and should not, be a qualification for the job of janitor.

Mr. HARRIS. The gentleman said a moment ago that subsection (e) was applicable insofar as the exclusion is concerned, with reference to teaching.

Mr. CELLER. As to teaching, yes; and as to administrative positions, yes; but when it comes to nonteaching and nonadministrative positions, for ordinary laborers, there should not be an exemption.

Mr. HARRIS. Then an atheist could be forced upon this particular college? Mr. CELLER. Not necessarily. It would depend on all the circumstances.

Mr. HARRIS. But the Commission would have authority to determine whether it would come within the statute?

Mr. CELLER. That would be for the courts and the Commission. That example goes a little too far.

Mr. HARRIS. Perhaps so, but I am trying to get an understanding.

Mr. CELLER. I wish to make this clear. Certainly with respect to bona fide occupational qualifications involved in teaching and involved in the administration of a college that is covered by the title, and which may be denominational, the act shall not apply. However, with respect to nonteaching and nonadministrative positions, the ordinary laborers and the ordinary janitors, I believe the act should apply. That is what we intended.

The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from New York has expired. (By unanimous consent Mr. CELLER (at the request of Mr. HARRIS) was given permission to proceed for 2 additional minutes.)

Mr. HARRIS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield further?

Mr. CELLER. I yield to the gentleman from Arkansas.

Mr. HARRIS. I used an example of my own denomination. It could have been Catholic University or any other religious school.

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Mr. CELLER. All of these cases might be in a dangerous area, and they would have to be tested in the courts, eventually. All new legislation presents difficulties.

Mr. POFF. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike out the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I hesitate to take time on this. I have not spoken often today, but I think the gentleman from Texas offered an amendment which deserves very careful scrutiny before this House acts precipitously. Let us ponder for just a moment why the authors of this bill considered it wise to grant any exception under the FEPC title to those institutions which might for one reason or another prefer to employ people who profess a particular religion. Was it not because they realized that the heads of the institutions were concerned that the employees who came in daily contact with the students enrolled in those institutions might influence those students? And who can say what employee will influence the impressionable mind of a student and what employee will not? If you will pardon the personal allusion, the best friend I had among the employees of the college I was privileged to attend was not the professor of political science but the janitor. And that old gentleman had a very great impact upon the formulation of many of the convictions which I hold dear today. I say that we should not tamper with the freedom of any religious body in the operation of any of its institutions to propagate its religious beliefs by meddling with the employment policies it pursues.

Accordingly, I most earnestly, I most earnestly hope that we will not for the sake of expedition or dispatch, about which we have heard so much, lightly disregard and cast aside the import of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas.

Mr. McCULLOCH. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I regret that it is necessary to oppose the gentleman from Virginia, my colleague. on so many occasions. I repeat what I said with respect to the chairman's statement. My conclusion was not hastily arrived at. The bill as drafted exempts all administrative personnel and those of the teaching profession in these religious institutions. It would, in my opinion, exempt the executive officials of the religious institutions. I ask the members of this committee why should the janitors of an in

stitution be discriminated against in seeking employment on the ground that they were going to influence students in these educational institutions? If we adopt this amendment, we may well be building in the bill a legal discrimination which we have worked so long to eliminate. In my opinion, the amendment is not needed and will not serve the purpose intended by an overwhelming majority of this House.

Mr. HUTCHINSON. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield to me for a question?

I yield to the

Mr. McCULLOCH. gentleman for a question.

Mr. HUTCHINSON. I would like to ask the gentleman this question: Let us suppose a situation of a church-related college where the religious organizations of the church make contributions of one sort or another to the support of that college. Then do I understand that a man who is a professed atheist can be hired as the janitor at such a college and that the good people of that church can be made to support him?

Mr. McCULLOCH. This bill will have nothing to do with the logical reasons of hiring or failing to hire anyone. No chief of personnel of any religious educational institution needs to hire any atheist, if that be a logical reason for not hiring employees there. We are talking about discrimination by reason of color.

Mr. HUTCHINSON. No. We are talking about discrimination by reason of conviction.


Mr. ROOSEVELT. man yield?

Mr. McCULLOCH. I yield to the gentleman from California.

Mr ROOSEVELT. Mr. Chairman, I want to say to the gentleman from Ohio that he has exactly expressed the views of those who originally wrote this legislation. In section 703 we clearly exempt all religious corporations as such, definitely and properly, and then on page 70, beginning at line 4 we again do just what the gentleman said which is, wherever there is a proper bona fide reason, because of the occupational qualification. there can be no question that the people would be exempt and need to be exempt.

Mr. ROUSH. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike out the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I have for the past few days sat on this side of the aisle and consistenly supported the committee in their opposition to the many amend

And religion.

Will the gentle

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ments which have been offered to this bill. However, on this particular amendment I must desert their cause, because I do not believe it is just. The gentleman from Texas is a very sincere and able colleague of ours. It was not his intention in any way to deprive us of the full effect and intention of this bill which was to protect and to assure our colored friends their just rights. This goes to something I think would touch almost every Member here because surely they have a denominational school in their district.

I am not so sure, as has been stated here, that the exclusion of that section 703 does apply. I am not so positive of that. First of all most of these schools are religious, nonprofit corporations. Secondly, we have no assurance that a church-related college or university is a religious corporation. Then, too, I think you have to understand the atmosphere of a college campus if that college or university is denominational.

I attended a denominational college. I serve on the board of trustees of a denominational college. I lived on the campus of a denominational college. That college insists not only that its administrators, not only its teachers and professors adhere to its religious beliefs, but insists that the janitors and everyone else who is employed by that school adhere to those beliefs. That college should have the right to compel the individuals it employs to adhere to its beliefs, for that college exists to propagate and to extend to the people with whom it has influence its convictions and beliefs. To force such a college to hire an "outsider" would dilute if not destroy its effect and thus its very purpose for existence.

There are five such schools in my particular district and each of them fits this category. You have to understand the total atmosphere of these college campuses in order to understand what this gentleman is attempting to do. To force them to hire those outside their own beliefs destroys the total influence of those colleges. Surely the membership of this House does not want that.

Mr. Chairman, I strongly urge my colleagues to support the amendment of the gentleman from Texas. I think it is a good amendment and should be adopted.

Mr. ROBERTS of Texas. Mr. Chairman. I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman. I take this time in order to direct a question to the gentleman from California [Mr. ROOSEVELT). The district I am privileged to represent

has probably the largest church-supported orphans' home in the United States. As a matter of fairness, the house mothers for those orphans are widows of preachers of the same faith and, insofar as possible, retired ministers make up most of the other personnel.

My question is this: Is that home completely exempt? Can they employ people of their own faith in all positions in the orphans' home?

Mr. ROOSEVELT. May I ask a question? Is the organization to which the gentleman refers wholly owned by this religious order?

Mr. ROBERTS of Texas. Yes, it is.

Mr. ROOSEVELT. Unquestionably it would be exempt under section 703.

Mr. GILL. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. ROBERTS of Texas. I yield to the gentleman from Hawaii.

Mr. GILL. Is it an educational institution?

Mr. ROBERTS of Texas. It is an orphans' home. They operate a school in connection with it, but they also operate a very large experimental farm to take care of the orphans of the faith of this group of people. In light of the problems raised, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. PURCELL] has offered an amendment that should be approved by this body, and if there is any doubt, certainly it should be approved.

Mr. EDMONDSON. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. ROBERTS of Texas. I yield to the gentleman from Oklahoma.

Mr. EDMONDSON. I would agree with the gentleman wholeheartedly on the last statement he made because of the difference that appears to prevail in the leadership of the committee on this question. Very definitely, the gentleman from California and the gentleman from Hawaii too have given a different answer on this point than the answer that was given by the very distinguished and able chairman of the committee. Unless the chairman of the committee modifies his views as he has given them to this committee, it seems to me the only safe course to follow to assure fair action to these religious institutions such as the gentleman has described is to adopt the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas.

Mr. CHELF. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. ROBERTS of Texas. I yield to the gentleman from Kentucky.

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