Barney Frank says bill will lead to discrimination and racism.
Supporters of President Bush's faith-based initiative have worried that the legislation eventually passed may be a weak shadow of its original intent. Some were concerned it would do little good for faith-based charities. Now it could actually hurt them.

The Boston Globe reported yesterday that House democrats and civil-rights groups are campaigning against the current bill in the Senate because it "would not expressly bar religious charities that receive federal funds from proselytizing or practicing discrimination in hiring."

In other words, it would allow faith-based groups to practice their faith and hire those who share it. But Democrat Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts says the bill would lead to racism and discrimination against homosexuals because organizations will hire on the basis of their religion or culture.

He has met with several senators and senatorial aides, The Boston Globe reports, to encourage blocking the bill unless it is amended to "explicitly prohibit hiring discrimination."

The bipartisan bill's supporters are frustrated that such arguments are delaying action. Some are nervous that it won't be passed before midterm elections. Rick Santorum, Republican senator from Pennsylvania, was unable this week to get Democrats' approval to move the bill to the Senate floor with attached limits on debate and amendments. It was the fourth attempt.

''Time is slipping away,'' Democrat Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut told The Boston Globe. ''This is a good bill. But, for reasons that are sometimes clear and sometimes not so clear, some of our colleagues are holding up action.''

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