President Obama signed an executive order Monday barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity – ignoring the pleas of Christian and other faith leaders to include an exemption for religious organizations.
“Thanks to your passion and advocacy and the irrefutable rightness of your cause, our government – the government of the people, by the people and for the people – will become just a little bit fairer,” the president told a gathering in the White House.
The executive order would prevent Christian and other religious organizations with federal contracts from requiring workers to adhere to the tenets of their religious beliefs. And that includes religious Christian colleges and universities that provide financial aid to students.
“If religious organizations cannot require that their employees conduct themselves in ways consistent with the teachings of their faith – then, essentially, those organizations are unable to operate in accordance with their faith,” Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council, told me.
He said the president’s order forces employers to put aside their principles in the name of political correctness. “This level of coercion is nothing less than viewpoint blackmail that bullies into silence every contractor and subcontractor who has moral objections to homosexual behavior,” Sprigg said.
“The mask is coming off of the homosexual movement’s agenda. They really do not believe in religious liberty. They want forced affirmation of homosexual and transgender conduct to trump every other consideration in the workplace – including religious liberty.”
A group of prominent religious leaders, including Rick Warren, founder and senior pastor at Saddleback Church, wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to include a religious exemption.
“In a concrete way, religious organizations will lose financial funding that allows them to serve others in the national interest due to their organizational identity,” they wrote. “When the capacity of religious organizations is limited, the common good suffers.”
Not surprising, the president’s executive order was warmly welcomed by left-wing organizations like Americans United for Separation of Church and State.