Skip to comments.New Rule Excludes Religious Workers from Benefits Offered to Others (PSLF)
Posted on 02/16/2012 11:56:05 PM PST by Salvation
As the recent battle for a proper understanding of religious liberty shows, our culture and many of our government leaders and organizations are becoming increasingly secularized and hostile to religion and religious practice.
Yet another example of this is a recent rule change in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). According to this program, a person who has been engaged in Public Service employment for ten years, can have the remainder of their Student Loan form the government forgiven, presuming they have faithfully been paying it up till then.
However, a recent rule change now excludes those who are involved in any work of a religious nature. In the Washington Post On Faith section Brad Hirschfield writes the following to explain the change:
What counts as public service?
Until the end of January, the government definition was clear and inclusive. It read as follows: Qualifying employment is any employment with a federal, state, or local government agency, entity, or organization or a non-profit organization that has been designated as tax-exempt by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).
Now though, the rules have changed. At the end of the description of who qualifies for this program, a new paragraph appears and its striking not only in that it re-defines things, but that it does so in a way that seems purposefully disingenuous.
Generally, the type or nature of employment with the organization does not matter for PSLF purposes. However, if you work for a non-profit organization, your employment will not qualify for PSLF if your job duties are related to religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing. 
Thus, the new policy explicitly goes out of its way to exclude religious work. In effect it implies that such work is NOT public service, merely because it is exercised through a religious organization for a religious purpose.
Consider that the PSLF program exists because work for a tax exempt organization is generally considered to be of special value to the community. Many tax exempt organizations (like the Church), and those who work them provide care for the poor, special outreach to immigrants, pro-bono or lower cost legal assistance, and the like. The Church, in particular, runs shelters, soup kitchens, schools, hospitals, dental clinics, and so forth.
And, further, there was a traditional appreciation for the fact that religious instruction, and the care of souls, was something that benefited the entire community, since such care helps to instill personal stability, generosity, commitment, respect for law, strong families and other civic values.
In recognition of the value of such work, and in order to encourage others to undertake it, programs like the Public Service Loan Forgiveness are offered, and churches, non-profits and other 401-C3 organizations have been granted tax exempt status.
Again, note the reason, they are tax-exempt and receive certain other benefits in recognition of the fact that they provide a valuable service to the the community.
The new wording of the law says, in effect, that offering religious benefits and services, the care of the soul, is no longer to be considered worthy of the benefit, that is, such work is no longer to be considered valuable enough that such workers will qualify.
Endless arguments will likely ensue as to the Church/State debate. But note that this is a CHANGE in the law. Those involved in religious work have always been included until now. Mr Hirschfield in his article asks,
Are clergy and teachers of religious faith/thought public servants? Is their work on par with that of others who work for 501c3 non-for-profit groups and for government agencies? It used to be, but as of January 31st, the federal government has changed its mind about that .
While religion can be abused in the most horrendous ways, it remains a source of enormous social good and unprecedented public service. The new regulation seems to uphold only one of those truths, and in doing so, is actually taking a position on faith (dare I say, establishing one?) a hostile one. 
Yes, hostile would seem to be the word. And that, in a word, is increasingly what secularization is coming to mean: Hostility to religion. In the recent past we who are believers considered secularization to be an unfortunate forgetfulness of God or a disregarding of things spiritual and Godly. But in recent years secularization has increasingly taken on a direct hostility to religious faith, to its existence in the public square, and to its practice anywhere outside the four walls of a Church.
The new PSLF wording illustrates and proceeds from just that kind of growing and accepted cultural hostility. Mr. Hirschfield concludes:
While church-[state] separation is a wise and necessary policy, separation is not about discrimination against, or hostility towards, religion. The regulation, as newly reformulated is clumsy at best, insensitive for certain, and may even be illegally hostile to religion. This one needs to change. 
Its easy to see where this is going; the gov’t goes anti-Religion and puts those with religious affiliation in the position of being anti-gov’t, if only by implication. So, what’s next? Loyalty oaths? The wretched secularists are intent on marginalizing the devout to the point of near extinction.
Interesting thing about this however is that God has had an interesting way of dealing with the Anti-God types in the past; the Old Testament indicates that in their unbridled pursuit of secular values of earthly wealth, power and dominion of their fellow humans allways ends in their personal, very personal, destruction. God made this human existence profoundly simple; God is the ultimate and only authority and his laws, while simple, are mandatory for the preservation of the earthly human body and the eternal soul. The secular humanists ignore this, deny this, rail against this at their ultimate peril.
From what I’ve seen however, the sad thing is that once captured by the lure of the secular humanist philosophy, people are near impossible to talk to. The so-called “Liberal” elements in Western societies have so fully embraced and propagandized their societies with this philosopy that its become near untouchable and its agenda is soaked through the education process such that its nearly seamless in its application. It isn’t that it isn’t questioned; its incoporated so thoroughly into daily activities in the schools that it isn’t an apparent issue.
The UK presents a fascinating case study of the perils that the secular humanists encounter in their societies as a by product of their wiping out of any thing Godly in those societies. In England for example, their health care service is suffering exhorbitant strains because of record high alcoholism rampant throughout the culture. Having no purpose in life, no hope beyond this shabby earthly, materialistic existence, the English seek solace, seek to fill the void of emptiness with booze in mass quantities. So now their Health boards are recommending, as a fix to the problem that exorbitant taxes be imposed on alcoholic beverages. That might work to some extent, but it points to the fact that the Liberal Elites are utterly blind and clueless to the underlying problem and they are so because they’re invincibly ignorant of the root cause of the problem, that being the fact that human existence without God as the central focus of life is intolerably miserable and pointless. And the Liberal Elites react as they always do when confronted with a problem that threatens their “Greater Good”, i.e., their manufactured, centrally controlled human society. They impose more controls over personal behavior and become ever more intrusive into peoples daily lives. And we know where this ultimately ends up; the Nazi regime in Germany, the brutality of Stalin’s Soviet Union.
This has the potential, if not the probability of ending very, very badly for all concerned. All we can do now is daily pray and do daily penance in seeking God’s help, mercy and guidance. I’m hopeful and I’m actually expecting we may well witness a Marian intervention in the form of another miraculous apparition. Let us pray we live long enough to see it.
You’re absolutely correct; that is profoundly prophetic.
Meaning that we could very well see a second American revoultion or civil war in our lifetimes, unless something of a Heavenly miracle takes place.
Very good post!
More external planning by the rats in charge = Less real life for the rest of us.
Freedom is where “it” is at, subject only to God’s simple, moral, timeless rules and truths.
Your post is the most frightening of all to me this morning. I have no doubt about the parallels. I just don’t think any of us want to think about them.
Thanks for your insights and links.
We welcome you back.
The weak bishops of that time (I call them Bernardin’s boys) misinterpreted Vatican II and did a lot of damage to life in general by not supporting Humanae Vitae wholeheartedly.
Today the Church and the current Pope and Bishops are reaping the whirlwind of their poor decisions.
May God have mercy on us!
Thank you very much for the link.