"President Obama's new executive order compelling all federal contractors to affirm the latest LGBTQ orthodoxy escalates the ongoing culture war against traditional mores and religion." -- Institute on Religion and Democracy President Mark Tooley
WASHINGTON DC - Religious groups will not receive an exemption from an executive order signed this morning by President Barack Obama banning "discrimination" based on sexual orientation or "gender identity" by federal contractors.
The order adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of specially protected categories that apply to federal contractors, and it adds gender identity to sexual orientation as a protected category for federal employees. The order could institutionalize federal discrimination against all religious groups and persons affirming natural marriage, traditional sexual ethics and the biological reality of gender.
A June letter sent following the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby-Conestoga Wood decision requested that the President include explicit religious freedom protections in any executive order regarding LGBTQ employees of federal contractors.
The letter, which was organized by Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance President Stanley Carlson-Thies, was signed by religious leaders including National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America Executive Director for Public Policy Nathan Diament, National Christian Hispanic Leadership Conference President Samuel Rodriguez, and Obama Spiritual Advisor Pastor Joel C. Hunter.
Officials from World Relief, World Vision, World Concern, Food for the Hungry and Samaritan's Purse are signatories, along with numerous Christian Colleges and Universities. Several denominational leaders also signed, including officials from the Assemblies of God, the Seventh-Day Adventists, Wesleyan Church, Presbyterian Church in America, Church of the Nazarene, Christian & Missionary Alliance and others.
IRD President Mark Tooley commented:
"President Obama's new executive order compelling all federal contractors to affirm the latest LGBTQ orthodoxy escalates the ongoing culture war against traditional mores and religion.
"Kudos to those religious leaders who defend liberty of conscience and dignity for all persons against an increasingly intolerant state and secular culture that seek to eradicate traditional faith and practice from public life.
"Religious groups adhering to transcendent truths beyond the present age now have the special role to argue for freedom for ALL persons and to oppose the growing intolerance for any dissent from the reigning zeitgeist. Freedom of speech, conscience and religion are precious gifts essential to justice and democracy."