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Biden’s Allies Threaten Religious Liberty – OpEd

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Left-wing advocacy organizations are wasting no time pressing Joe Biden to do away with the religious liberty protections afforded by the Trump administration. As we have previously detailed, no president has done more to secure religious liberty than Donald Trump.

The three most prominent organizations asking Biden to undo Trump’s progress are the American Civil Liberties Union, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Center for American Progress.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is obsessed with sex: it wants to make sure that homosexuals, the sexually confused (transgender people), and women seeking an abortion never have rights that are subordinate to religious rights. It does not matter to the civil libertarians that the former are nowhere mentioned in the Constitution and the latter are enshrined in the First Amendment. The ACLU is worried that “a new wave of bills seeking to create religious exemptions” will succeed, endangering the rights of “LGBTQ” people.

No right is more important than conscience rights, a liberty which is ineluctably tied to religious rights. It is this premier right that the ACLU loathes. In a statement released after the election, it condemned “attempts by the Trump administration to invoke religious or personal beliefs.” It said that such exercises can be used to discriminate against LGBTQ people. It further stated that “invoking religious or moral objections” to the LGBTQ agenda cannot be tolerated.

On November 11, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued its “Blueprint for Positive Change 2020.” It is chock-a-block full of recommendations for Biden. One of its priorities is to upend the new direction taken by the Office of Civil Rights within the Department of Health and Human Services under President Trump. It specifically takes aim at the Office’s enforcement of “federal conscience and religious liberty laws.” Once again, the LGBTQ agenda is considered to be more important. Thus HRC joins the ACLU in the left-wing assault on conscience rights.

HRC also wants to pare back the religious liberty protections afforded faith-based programs by the Trump administration. If its position were followed, it would essentially excise the faith element in faith-based initiatives. This, of course, is its goal.

The most draconian recommendation promoted by HRC is its call for the Department of Education to reconsider its standards for accrediting religious institutions of higher education. In short, it wants to deny accreditation to religious colleges and universities that do not meet its secular vision of education.

HRC is incensed over the current mandate that accreditation agencies “respect the stated mission” of these religious institutions. It takes particular umbrage at the religious liberty protections cited in the Higher Education Opportunity Act, a law passed by the Congress during the outgoing Bush administration in 2008.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) encourages the Biden Administration to do everything the ACLU and HRC want, focusing on doing away with religious exemptions initiated by the Trump administration. However, it does have a few novel ideas of its own.

CAP is big on “diversity outreach” efforts to minority religions. This multicultural game, of course, is less interested in recognizing minority religions than it is in whittling away at our Judeo-Christian heritage. It does not stop there.

“Religious outreach efforts should also specifically include secular humanist or nonreligious groups, as well as faith-based or spirit-rooted communities who do not observe a specific religious tradition.” If the gurus who wrote this were honest, they would simply say that religious outreach efforts should embrace organizations founded to subvert religion. Inviting atheists to have a table at religious gatherings is like having racists participate in a forum on racism. Yes, there are non-bigoted atheists, but organized atheist entities invariably harbor an animus against religion.

CAP urges the Biden administration to “safeguard the separation between religion and government.” Really? Then why does it say, “Together with Pope Francis, the Biden administration should organize a global gathering of religious leaders to discuss climate change and refugee issues”?

Whatever happened to that proverbial “wall” separating church and state? No matter, if the pope is to have a voice on climate change (not exactly his specialty), why not invite the Holy Father to share his views on gender ideology—the fanciful notion that we can switch our sex? He properly calls it “demonic.”

Constitutional law professor Patrick Garry notes that it was never the intent of the Founders to “place religion and nonreligion on the same level.” In fact, “Textually, the Constitution provides greater protection of religious practices than for any secular-belief-related activities.” This is what gnaws at the ACLU, HRC and CAP.

Much is being made of Biden’s alleged “devout” Catholic status. Yet many of his polices on life, marriage, the family, and sexuality are at variance with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Now he is being besieged by organizations that are positively inimical to his professed religion. He cannot have it both ways any more. It is time for him to draw a line in the sand, before his allies eviscerate it altogether.

William Donohue

William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

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