Coalition of Church/State Separation Groups Urges Obama to Avoid Religious Exemption in Upcoming Executive Order July 16, 2014

Coalition of Church/State Separation Groups Urges Obama to Avoid Religious Exemption in Upcoming Executive Order

A couple of weeks ago, Pastor Rick Warren and more than a dozen other Protestant and Catholic leaders demanded that President Obama give religious companies with federal contracts the ability to discriminate against LGBT employees.

It all had to do with an upcoming executive order that Obama said he would sign, which would ban all federal contractors from discriminating against employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Since no one knows what the order will say, the Christian leaders were attempting to influence the order’s wording to include a religious exemption.

Yesterday, a coalition of nearly 70 religious and secular groups sent the President a letter urging him to do precisely the opposite. (A group of 50 law professors around the country have done the same.)

… All of our organizations have worked to preserve traditional safeguards that protect civil rights and religious liberty when government partners with religiously affiliated organizations — safeguards we defend for the good of both religion and government.

Religious freedom is one of our most cherished values, a fundamental and defining feature of our national character. It guarantees us the freedom to hold any belief we choose and the right to act on our religious beliefs within certain limits. It does not, however, provide organizations the right to discriminate using taxpayer dollars. When a religiously affiliated organization makes the decision to request a taxpayer-funded contract with the federal government, it must play by the same rules as every other federal contractor.

Groups that signed the letter include: the American Humanist Association, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Center For Inquiry, Council for Secular Humanism, Interfaith Alliance, and the Secular Coalition for America.

Keep in mind that what they’re asking for is equal treatment for everyone.

What the Christian leaders are asking for is special treatment for the sole purpose of discriminating against people. If that isn’t clear evidence of religion causing otherwise decent people to do awful things, I don’t know what is.

(Portions of this article were posted earlier.)

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