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24 March 2012

Repudiation: Tax Dollars for Discrimination

Yesterday, 23 Marcy 2012, Rob Schwarzwalder of the Family Research Council (FRC) wrote an article, Another Obama Administration Attack on Marriage, Religious Liberty.  The article complains that World Vision, a religious charity that is hired by the government to help overseas, is being coerced to hire homosexuals.
Now, World Vision and other international Christian ministries are once again being pressured to jettison a key biblical teaching – only this time, on marriage.  According to Christianity Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development has issued “a new federal policy that ‘strongly encourages’ all contractors to develop anti-discrimination policies covering employees’ sexual orientation.”
 According to World Vision Senior Vice-President Kent Hill, “all World Vision U.S.employees must sign a statement of faith and agree to a standard of conduct that limits sexuality to ‘a God-ordained covenant between a man and a woman’.”
The encouragement is from an executive policy for USAID, United States Agency for International Development, that contractors for USAID not discriminate.  The language is specific:  "contractors and recipients are not required to implement the same comprehensive nondiscrimination policies required by the Agency for its own employment practices."  The Washington Blade has the full memo.

Mr. Schwarzwalder even quotes the Obama administration verifying that there is no attack on religious liberty.
The Obama Administration was quick to deny any potential discrimination: According to USAID spokesman Drew Bailey, “The LGBT anti-discrimination policy is not binding … Nothing in the policy precludes our continuing strong partnerships with religious organizations or otherwise affects contracting or grant decisions. We have strong, productive relationships with many faith-based organizations, and [they] will not be adversely affected by this policy.”
Of course, that does not stop Mr. Schwarzwalder from assuming that encouragement is about to become requirement.
Let us pray that this tacit attack on religious liberty will not impede the ability of Christian groups to partner with Washington in providing aid to those so in need.  And let us act, by contacting the Obama Administration and our elected federal representatives to express to them that this potentially massive violation of our “first freedom” – freedom of religion – will be stopped.
The latest policy directive, released 12 March 2012, has nothing about sexual orientation or marriage equality.  Twenty-four pages without a hint of requirement that World Vision and other religious contractors of USAID stop discriminating.

In a more just environment, my tax dollars would not be going to organizations that discriminate against the LGBTQ Community.  If a religion to which I do not adhere or belong wants to discriminate with its own money, my objections should be dismissed as an outside annoyance.  But this is about money that comes from the government, from all of us.

The United States government should stop paying any contractor that discriminates based on the same criteria as government employment.

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