If you thought the Obama Administration had taken its final swipe at religious liberty with the HHS mandate, think again. At Catholic Vote, John Shimek tells us that there is a new attack on American’s religious liberty, and it won’t affect just Catholics.
According to Shimek, the social media website Buzzfeed announced that the White House is drafting an executive order that will bar federal contractors from discriminating against anyone based on gender identity and/or sexual orientation.
President Obama is moving on the issue a week after talking about the important role that administrative action can play in advancing LGBT rights.
At a question-and-answer session at the White House last week, Obama spoke about how transgender students can now “assert their rights” following recent Education Department action laying out an expanded view of sex discrimination protections under Title IX.
Shimek asks, “So what? What does this have to do with religious liberty?” As it turns out, quite a bit.
Fr. Thomas Reese claims that “Depending on what exemptions [the executive order provides], the new requirement may affect Catholic Relief Services, Catholic hospitals, Catholic education, and other Catholic charities that received Federal funds.”
Bottom line: The HHS Mandate hit health care workers and institutions. This new assault? Basically, it hits all the rest of the Church’s charitable social services. In other words, the Obama White House is casting the net of its progressive agenda much further and wider this time.
What practical impact could this executive order have? Picture this. A Catholic archdiocesan or diocesan adoption service, that needs federal monies in order to function, announces plans to place children in traditional families comprised of one father and one mother. Such a plan would violate the new executive order being drafted. What happens next? A phone call from the Feds? Burdensome fines? At this juncture, we don’t know. But, perhaps history is prologue.
Of course, Catholic social service agencies have closed their doors in several states, rather than violating Church teaching and being forced to place children with homosexual couples. Shimek says,
Obama’s team is gearing up to place pressure on Catholic charitable social services to conform to its progressive agenda. Church services – like adoption agencies – will have to face a choice: Either conform to that agenda or shut their doors for lack of federal financial support. The choices are bleak.
This is another case where the Obama Administration may “win,” but children and other vulnerable groups will lose – lose much-needed services, hope, and compassionate care from organizations with (in some cases) a century or more experience in delivery of care. Yet, Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work says that this move by the White House “is a tremendous step forward in the campaign to give LGBT Americans a fair shot to build a successful career being judged on their talent and hard work – nothing more and nothing less.” However, it’s clear that the administration is not interested in giving religious liberty any type of fair shot.