President's Order Leaves No Faith in Business
With the world in deep turmoil, and a struggling economy, Americans are looking for leadership to confront these many challenges. What kind of leadership do we see coming from the White House? Last month's "gay pride month" consumed much of the Obama administration's attention and this month isn't any different. This morning President Obama gathered a group of LGBT activists at the White House to sign an executive order mandating that all federal contractors and subcontractors -- regardless of their religious and moral convictions -- give special treatment to homosexuals, transgenders, and cross-dressers in the workplace. This action is wrong on the merits, because it accepts the premise that distinctions based on actual conduct -- such as homosexual behavior and cross-dressing -- should be treated the same way as distinctions based on immutable and innocuous characteristics like race. This order gives activists a license to challenge their employers and, expose those contracted employers to threats of costly legal proceedings and the potential of jeopardizing future contracts. The order further burdens contractors by stripping away their right to set dress and grooming standards. All this amounts to viewpoint blackmail and bullies into silence those contractors and subcontractors who have moral objections to homosexual behavior. This morning President Obama told the assembled group of activists, "We're on the right side of history." Mr. President, being on the wrong side of the natural law is never being on the right side of history.
The President is placing at risk not only faith-driven employers but religious groups such as relief organizations which sometimes put government dollars to work in uniquely effective ways. The President's refusal to completely exempt religious businesses from this executive order betrays his true agenda -- forcing his own conformist views upon everyone else, and making America less free in the process. Now Americans are left to sort out the costs to religious and constitutional liberties. The President's priorities aren't drawing much enthusiasm from the American public. A Huffington Post poll finds only 50% of Americans support an ENDA-type law, which gives preference to homosexuals and transgenders in the workplace. As President Obama continues to drive America over the cultural cliff, don't be surprised when more and more Americans refuse to follow.
Appeals Court Not OK on Marriage
On Friday, a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld a lower court ruling declaring Oklahoma's marriage amendment to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution. This was not a surprise, since the same panel reached the same conclusion just three weeks earlier in a challenge to Utah's marriage laws. The panel said that excluding same-sex couples from the definition of marriage violates their "fundamental right to marry."
What they (and several other federal courts) are ignoring is Supreme Court precedent that when a new "fundamental right" is asserted, it must be precisely defined (in this case, as the right to marry a person of the same sex), and that such the right so defined must be "objectively, deeply rooted in this Nation's history, legal traditions, and practices" (Washington v. Glucksberg, 1997). Since the first marriage licenses for same-sex couples were only issued ten years ago, this radical redefinition of marriage is clearly not "deeply rooted in this Nation's history."
The only silver lining in the majority's views was the concession that the millions of citizens who voted to preserve natural marriage were not motivated by "animus" toward homosexuals. As in the Utah case, Judge Paul Joseph Kelly, Jr. wrote a compelling dissent, noting that "there is nothing in the earlier [Supreme Court] cases suggesting that marriage has historically been defined as only an emotional union of willing adults" -- and pointing out that the majority's unlimited view of "marriage" could as easily be applied to polygamous or incestuous relationships, as well. While the judicial stampede to redefine marriage continues for now, sooner or later the American people will have the final word as they experience the consequences of marriage redefinition and the ways in which it fundamentally alters America's moral, cultural and political landscape.
Convert, Pay a Tax, or Be Executed
For centuries, Christians have lived and worshiped in Mosul, but yesterday the churches in the Iraqi city that weren't engulfed in flames stood silent. When the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) took over the city last month, the majority of the city's Christians left, expecting the worse from the deadly ISIS invaders. Those who remained are now the focus of intense persecution. On Friday, the jihadist ISIS issued an ultimatum to all remaining Christians living in Mosul -- by noon on Saturday -- they must either convert to Islam, pay an extra religious tax, or be executed.
As the brief deadline approached, families who took flight were told to leave all their possessions behind. One refugee, Wadie Salim, told CNN that they were ordered, "...to leave all of your money, gold, jewelry and go out with only the clothes on you."
While a cathedral in Mosul burned, the city's Christians fled, and it is unclear now whether or not there are even any Christians left in Mosul.
Not surprisingly, the silence of the church bells in Mosul has been matched by the silence of the Obama administration. For an administration that wields such a heavy hand campaigning for the international embrace of LGBT practices, a strong stand against violent religious persecution seems to be an unwelcome third wheel. The months that the administration has left the post of Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom unfilled speaks volumes regarding the importance (or lack thereof) that President Obama places on defending religious freedom rights abroad. We've seen this with the administration's sluggishness on the Meriam Ibrahim situation in Sudan as well. When will the Obama administration speak up for persecuted Christians around the world? The issue of response in Iraq is certainly complex, but silence in the face of such overwhelming violence toward a particular religion risks being perceived as approval.
American Christians should not be silent about the plight of our persecuted brothers and sisters. We at FRC lift up our prayers for the Christians under attack in Iraq, and encourage you to as well. Join me tonight during the 9:00 ET hour as I discuss this story on Fox News with Megyn Kelly.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.