Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Freedom to discriminate?

Yesterday, President Obama signed an executive order adding LGBT people to the list of those who cannot be discriminated against by federal contractors. Several prominent Episcopalians were there to say "Amen" including our friends the Rev. Susan Russell,and Bishop Gene Robinson.

It didn't take long for the right wing to yell and screech. You see, apparently it is a deeply embedded Christian moral value to take taxpayer dollars but refuse to hire some of those taxpayers.

Um, no, not so much. If your "religious freedom" requires you to discriminate against fellow citizens in the public square, it's not freedom.

Besides, I'm not sure it says anywhere in the Bible, "thou shalt be a federal contractor."

Francis DeBernardo writes in the Advocate,
Faith is about developing an intimate relationship with a personal God and reflecting that relationship in my attitudes and practices toward other people. Faith is about sacrificing some privileges because of wanting to live in accord with principles. Faith is not about having access to government contracts. Faith is not about forcing people to live by an employer’s personal beliefs, no matter how sincerely those beliefs may be held. ....

Political conservatives are not the only ones who have religion. So, it should be no surprise that one of the strongest groups asking that religious exemptions not be included in ENDA and the executive order are religious leaders themselves. In one letter sent to President Obama by 100 religious leaders, their request to exclude exemptions came from a religious belief in nondiscrimination and human dignity. They stated, “Increasing the obstacles faced by those at the margins is precisely the opposite of what public service can and should do, and is precisely the opposite of the values we stand for as people of faith.”

Moreover, not all religious people feel that their faith is threatened by policies that promote LGBT equality and reproductive health for women. In fact, for many religious people, it is indeed their faith that motivates their advocacy for these principles. So, we are left with the question: Just whose religious liberty is being protected and whose is being infringed upon when we allow for broad exemptions?
More analysis here.

1 comment:

Ann said...

And Vivian Taylor - Executive Director of Integrity.