President Obama has signed an executive order forbidding anyone with a federal contract from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The effect may be to cut off faith-based charities and institutions from participating in government projects or receiving federal funds. After the jump, what this may mean from a Catholic point of view.
This morning, Buzzfeed – “The Media Company for the Social Age” – broke the news that the White House is drafting an executive order that would bar federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Buzzfeed reported that “the order likely would either amend an earlier executive order signed by President Lyndon Johnson banning federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin or would be modeled after that order.”
Federal contractors? Discrimination? Sounds uninteresting, right? After all, even the Catechism of the Catholic Church itself claims that LGBT individuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.” And, that same Catechism adds that “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (CCC 2358). This new executive order is a hill of beans, isn’t it?Wrong!
What the Obama White House is doing is drafting another executive order that sends one more sucker punch right into the gut of the American Catholic Church.
Even the left-of-center National Catholic Reporter understands what is at stake. Fr. Thomas Reese claims that “Depending on what exemptions [the executive order provides], the new requirement may affect Catholic Relief Services, Catholic hospitals, Catholic education, and other Catholic charities that received Federal funds.”
Bottom line: The HHS Mandate hit health care workers and institutions. This new assault? Basically, it hits all the rest of the Church’s charitable social services. In other words, the Obama White House is casting the net of its progressive agenda much further and wider this time.
What practical impact could this executive order have? Picture this. A Catholic archdiocesan or diocesan adoption service, that needs federal monies in order to function, announces plans to place children in traditional families comprised of one father and one mother. Such a plan would violate the new executive order being drafted. What happens next? A phone call from the Feds? Burdensome fines? At this juncture, we don’t know.