The Obama administration introduced a threatening rule last week that promises to strip away federal contracts from religious or charity organizations that hold to traditional views of gender and sexuality, according to The Washington Times.
“Security Adviser Susan E. Rice said the rule prohibits organizations that contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the administration of aid,” the report states.
As Rice said in a speech about this rule last week at American University, “The United States also needs to do more to institutionalize efforts to promote LGBT rights.” She added:
“As part of that commitment, I’m pleased to note that just yesterday a new rule went into effect that explicitly prohibits discrimination by USAID contractors. This rule means that any organization that contracts with USAID must ensure that all people can benefit from its federally funded programs, regardless of race, religion, disability — or sexual orientation and gender identity. It’s a major step toward ensuring that American assistance is provided in a fair and equitable manner.”
For many Catholic and other religious humanitarian efforts, funding from USAID totals $16 billion every year that the charities then use to build schools, treat disease, and ease poverty around the world. Advocates for the LGBT community aim to see these threat expand “across all U.S. foreign affairs agencies to “include nondiscrimination policies that cover not only the services they provide but also the people they hire,” as Human Rights Campaign director David Stacy said.
“HRC will also continue to advocate for similar protections for LGBTQ people served by other U.S. foreign agencies including the Department of State in order to ensure that American dollars are never used to enable discrimination.”
But the charities themselves are concerned about the government overreach and how that will impact the work they do. Heritage Foundation’s Roger Severino said, “Of course everyone that is eligible for aid should receive it, but the new rule is a solution in search of a problem and threatens religious aid organizations that provide vital services in reasonable and culturally sensitive ways.”
“For example, disaster relief agencies may now be required to open their women’s shower and sleeping facilities to biological males who self-identify as women or be stripped of all funding for alleged ‘gender identity discrimination,’” he said.
Likewise, president of Catholic Vote Brian Burch said these sanctions are “exceptionally worrisome” and shows government hostility towards religious organizations and threatens religious liberty:
“I think it’s the height of hypocrisy, particularly on the part of the LGBT movement, that said, less than two years ago, that the only thing they wanted was to be able to marry the person they love. Well, that’s clearly not all they want.”
That wasn’t all that President Obama wanted either — that is AFTER he didn’t approve of same-sex marriage. He has vowed to veto the National Defense Authorization Act “if it contains a provision protecting religious organizations from discrimination in the issuance of federal grants and contracts,” as the Times states.
“Time and again, we see that when the LGBT agenda conflicts with religious liberty, according to President Obama, religious liberty must lose,” Severino added. “Every day, people of faith are contributing to society — sweat, money, education, effort and love — in a way that government simply can’t do. They’re indispensable, and they have to be a part of the equation.”
Besides all of the good these organizations do for the poor and needy around the world, this charitable work contributes $1.2 trillion to the U.S. economy, making the president’s assault on religious liberty a bit “misguided,” as Severino stated.