February 03, 2017
The Left's cabal is in an uproar over word of new religious liberty protections potentially coming from the White House. What they consistently refuse to recognize, however is just how much of this fundamental first freedom we need to restore in the wake of the Obama regime.
The hysteria stems from word of a draft executive order that was leaked to The Nation, who claims that the order would create "wholesale exemptions for individuals and organizations who claim religious objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity." Like most of the Left's fake news, this is more about advancing their anti-Christian agenda than it is reporting real news.
What would the executive order on religious liberty do and why is it needed?
It would create a general directive for all federal agencies to adhere "to the extent permitted by law" to religious freedom laws and principles in agency actions, regulations or policies. It properly recognizes that religion should not be confined to a home or house of worship alone, but to "all activities of life," such as those that involve social services, education, health care, employment, obtaining "grants or contracts," or otherwise participating in the "public square." Religious expression has every right to exist in the public square as do other forms of expression. The order also directs federal agencies to implement the protections of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, along with the Title VII religious protections for federal employees, religious organizations, and schools.
While liberals are crying that the order legalizes discrimination, it's entirely lawful and narrowly tailored. As Ryan T. Anderson points out at the Daily Signal: "It ensures that the government will not discriminate against beliefs that are under assault, and protects religious organizations' right to maintain their mission and identity in their staffing decisions and programming, while not losing the ability to partner with the government and provide vital services to sometimes vulnerable and needy populations. The executive order also provides specific protections to undo some of the worst of liberal overreach. It finally and fully protects Americans from having to violate their consciences under the Obamacare abortifacient and contraception mandate. It protects the ability of all Americans to buy health care that doesn't cover or subsidize abortion. And it protects all Americans who believe that marriage is the union of husband and wife from federal government penalties or coercion."
That means people like the Little Sisters of the Poor would be protected from the HHS abortion mandate, non-profits and churches like Catholic Answers, All Saints Church, and the NAACP would be able to speak on political issues, universities like Gordon College and BYU Law School would not lose their tax exempt status because of their biblical view of human sexuality, and federal employees like Chaplain Wes Modder and Sergeant Phillip Monk would not have been disciplined for their Christian beliefs. Douglas Laycock, a distinguished professor of law at the University of Virginia, confirms this: "Mostly, it implements existing religious liberty legislation and resolves some of the ambiguities at the margins in favor of protection...I don't think it is unconstitutional on its face."
As I said yesterday, President Trump has been very clear on the importance of religious liberty. The free exercise of religion has suffered greatly under the policies and orders of President Obama. I am confident that the Trump administration will protect this first and most fundamental freedom.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.