Religious liberty vs. LGBT Discrimination

Gordon College, a respected Christian institution, is under fire for asking for a religious exemption from the president’s executive order that no one doing business with the government may discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.  The Hobby Lobby decision allowing a religious exemption for Obamacare contraception coverage explicitly said that the ruling did not apply in cases of discrimination.  David Skeel, in a discussion quoted after the jump, says that the Gordon College controversy would be the next major religious liberty issue.

The administration has made it clear that the president’s executive order  does NOT exempt religious groups.  A previous policy allowing an exemption for grants still stands.  World Vision and various other ministries receive grants, rather than contracts, so they would not be affected.  The president’s order did, however, leave intact a provision allowing religious groups to have a preference for hiring those who share their religious beliefs.  Perhaps that could include  religious beliefs about homosexuality.  [Read more...]

Obama’s order to hit religious charities?

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. [Read more...]

How Fred Phelps helped the gay-rights movement

The late Fred Phelps with his Westboro Baptist Church, who picketed funerals of soldiers killed in action and proclaimed “God hates fags,” created such a negative impression of Christians who disapprove of homosexuality that he actually played a major role in advancing the cause of gay rights.  So say a number of gay activists and other observers. [Read more...]

Boy Scouts accept gay members

The Boy Scouts of America voted to accept gay members.  The ban against homosexual scout masters and other adult leaders remains in place.  According to gay ideology, sexual identity is innate, not formed, so it makes sense to  speak of homosexual children. [Read more...]

Boy Scouts to admit gay members but not leaders?

The Boy Scouts of America will propose a change to their policies that will admit gay members but still not allow gay scout leaders.  Is that a good compromise?  Gay activists are attacking the proposal, insisting that the scouts also allow for gay leaders.  The organization will vote on the proposal in May. [Read more...]

Did Chick-fil-A back down–or not?

Reports are circulating that Chick-fil-A has abandoned its practice of supporting groups that oppose gay-marriage.  But the company is denying any change of policy.

The first story:

Chick-fil-A stopped funding traditional-marriage groups in an effort to open a new Chicago restaurant, but the company initially kept quiet about the decision, prompting gay rights groups to speculate that the company feared a backlash from conservative customers.

The Christian-rooted fast food restaurant agreed to stop funding groups such as Focus on the Family that oppose same-sex marriage in a meeting with the Chicago politician who had been blocking the company’s move there. Chick-fil-A wrote a letter to Alderman Joe Moreno affirming this, according to his spokesman, Matt Bailey, but the company initially wouldn’t allow his office to release the letter to the public. Three weeks later they relented.

“There was concern from them,” said Anthony Martinez, executive director for the Civil Rights Agenda, the Illinois lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender group that negotiated with both Chick-fil-A and the alderman to stop funding for so-called anti-gay groups. “They really didn’t want to announce it, really, but, of course, the alderman needed to clarify why he was changing his stance on them opening a restaurant within his ward.”

Chick-fil-A did not returns requests for comment, and has previously said it will not discuss the issue with the media.

Mr. Martinez said Chick-fil-A told the alderman they will no longer fund groups that support traditional marriage through their charity arm, the WinShape Foundation, and will instead use that money toward educational programs and food donations.

“The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas,” Chick-fil-A wrote in the letter.

The second story:

Following reports that Chick-fil-A had agreed to stop funding certain traditional family groups in order to get approval for a new Chicago restaurant, company President Dan Cathy said Friday the restaurant made no concessions and “we remain true to who we are.”

Cathy’s statement, posted on Mike Huckabee’s website, came one day after the company released its own statement saying that its corporate giving has “been mischaracterized” for many months and that it will continue to fund programs that “strengthen and enrich marriages.”

Said Cathy, “There continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago. That is incorrect. Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been.”

Focus on the Family President Jim Daly — whose organization supposedly had been de-funded by Chick-fil-A — also has spoken up for the company. And gay activist groups — who initially applauded Chick-fil-A’s supposed move — now are criticizing the restaurant once again.

HT:  Grace

UPDATE:  Tiffany Owens at  World Magazine does a good job of sorting this out (registration required).


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