Russell Moore reacts to Obama’s Executive Order that violates freedom of conscience
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 21, 2014—Russell Moore, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, commented on an executive order President Barack Obama signed today to extend the ban on discrimination in hiring by federal contractors to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
“While we don’t know the full implications of this executive order, I am disappointed that this administration persistently violates the freedom of conscience for religious organizations that provide necessary relief for the poor and endangered,” said Moore. “The same religious convictions that inspire their social action are the convictions now considered outside the new mainstream of sexual revolutionary fundamentalism. The ones hurt will be the most vulnerable in our society.”
In issuing the executive order, Obama is adding the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity to the existing order that protects employees of federal contractors from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It also adds the category of gender identity to a previous executive order that protects federal employees from discrimination.
In 2002, President George W. Bush amended the non-discrimination ban to allow religiously affiliated federal contractors to hire and retain employees based on religious identity. The Bush-era provision for religiously affiliated contractors remains in place, but there are certain to be many faith-based companies and organizations that will not be protected.
The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.8 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy entity with offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Washington, D.C.
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