Dear Mr. President, I write to you today as a concerned citizen of our great nation, standing as a witness against your historic actions on the morning of July 21, 2014, actions which I hope you will one day repudiate with deep remorse and regret.
I am referring, of course, to your signing an executive order Monday banning “discrimination” by federal contractors against LGBT people, while allowing for no religious exemptions of any kind.
This was an outrageous act of discrimination against religion in the name of anti-discrimination—an act of bullying people of faith in the name of the prevention of bullying.
How can you, as a man who professes to be a person of faith and a follower of Jesus, throw religious Americans—in particular Christians—under the bus?
How can you attempt to force Christians, Jews, Muslims and others to violate fundamental aspects of their moral codes in order to appease a small but powerful special-interest group, one that is not, in fact, suffering daily economic hardship by being fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientation or expression?
Have you forgotten entirely that our nation was founded on the concept of religious freedom?
It was unfortunate that you did not reflect on the recent Supreme Court decisions that made clear that you and your administration have consistently overstepped your bounds. Instead, once again, you bypassed the will of the people, as reflected in their elected officials, and simply made a decision affecting millions of Americans.
Worse still, you ignored the appeals of trusted religious leaders, some of whom campaigned for you in the past and others of whom have been among your trusted advisers, deciding instead to side with radical LGBT (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender) activism.
These leaders made a righteous and reasonable appeal to you, writing, “Mr. President, you have spoken eloquently of your commitment to protecting religious liberty, our nation’s first freedom. As you seek to promote the rights of LGBT persons, please also protect the rights of faith-based organizations that simply desire to utilize staffing practices consistent with their deep religious convictions as they partner with the federal government via contracting or subcontracting.”
In response, you mocked these “deep religious convictions,” and there are no words you can say to minimize the seriousness of your actions.
Mr. President, what was wrong with letting Congress make an informed decision on ENDA? Do you scorn the political process so much that you bypass it entirely?
You stated that, “I’m going to do what I can, with the authority I have, to act,” but the implications of your actions are massive.
An organization like Prison Reform, which utilizes federal funds to help transform the lives of inmates, would suffer dramatic financial setbacks should they simply refuse to hire individuals who violate their time-proven, biblically based code of conduct.
Children supported by World Vision, with the help of federal funds, would be deprived of food and shelter unless World Vision leaders compromised their Christian convictions. (After much soul searching this year, they have made clear that they will not compromise).
Fine Christian universities, which provide important academic and ethical training for the next generation of leaders and which are also the recipients of federal funding, could suffer a massive blow unless they forsake the faith on which their institutions were built.
Mr. President, must you now even take the place of God and tell Christians what they can and cannot actively practice?
I concur with Peter Sprigg who wrote that, “This level of coercion is nothing less than viewpoint blackmail that bullies into silence every contractor and subcontractor who has moral objections to homosexual behavior. This order gives activists a license to challenge their employers and expose those employers to threats of costly legal proceedings and the potential of jeopardizing future contracts.”
In truth, this is not a civil-rights issue, as if gay were the new black. As Catholic leader Austin Ruse observed, “the LGBTs are the most powerful aggrieved minority the world has ever known,” while, in contrast, “Black Americans really were aggrieved: enslaved, not allowed to vote, discriminated against in housing, banking and much else, hunted down and lynched.”
As our nation’s first African-American president, you must surely see the difference. Or is it true, as your critics claim, that you really intend to declare war on religion in America?
It is one thing to treat all people fairly, be they male or female, gay or straight, young or old. It is another thing to trample religious freedoms under foot and to attempt to coerce, with the full force of the government, men and women of deep religious faith and commitment.
Mr. President, there are millions of Americans who pray for you on a regular basis, and I have often called on my radio listeners to pray that you would be the greatest president in American history.
Despite those prayers, you took it upon yourself to enact an order which declares that, in the workplace, sexual rights trump religious rights. What a terrible, tragic shame.
I do pray for you, sir, as my president, that God would grant you the humility to recognize the error of your ways. At the same time, I assure you that there are countless thousands of Christian leaders and people of faith who will neither abandon their convictions nor be silenced from articulating those convictions.
And so, perhaps, in God’s providence, what you intended as a religious restriction will become the impetus for a religious awakening.
After all, you might well be the most powerful human being on the planet, but we will all bow down one day before the throne of God, and He will have the final say.
Michael Brown is author of Can You Be Gay and Christian? Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homosexuality and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.