I support the right of faith-based agencies to continue their work assisting those in need in the community without intrusion by the government. Many of these agencies provide a much-needed service to the Commonwealth at great expense to the churches that support them. In Virginia especially, where religious freedom has been supported by law for so many years, it would be counter-productive to establish laws requiring people and agencies to act against their religious principles as they attempt to assist others. Indeed, in states where such provisions have been legislated recently, many faith-based agencies have discontinued their services rather than act counter to their beliefs.
Not only would faith-based agencies be discriminated against by the inclusion of language in state laws counter to their religious principles, but individual people and families whose choice it is to seek out such agencies also would be discriminated against. Forcing individuals and agencies to choose between following their own beliefs and values or following written law would be an unprecedented violation of religious freedom in this state. I urge you to adopt regulations that support the ability of recognized faith-based agencies to continue serving the people of this Commonwealth.