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Labor Department bolsters religious exemptions from nondiscrimination laws

President Trump meets with state leaders on Aug. 9, 2018, at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(RNS) — The government has a duty to allow contractors to be excused from federal anti-discrimination laws if they cite a religious reason for doing so, according to a new directive from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The order, issued Friday (Aug. 10), is another sign of the Trump administration’s determination to accommodate religious conservatives, who have made freedom to act on one’s beliefs a signal issue at home and abroad.

Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a special religious liberty task force intended to remind Justice Department employees that it is their duty to accommodate people of faith. Also in July, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unveiled an action plan, dubbed the Potomac Declaration, that lays out “concrete ways” to protect religious groups around the world.

The latest move, which came in a letter from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, will make it more difficult to sue the government if one of its contractors denies a job to an LGBT person on the basis of the employer’s beliefs.

It reminds Department of Labor employees of recent Supreme Court cases that ruled in favor of religious groups. Those include the 2014 Hobby Lobby case in which justices allowed a craft store chain to deny workers emergency contraceptive drugs in the Affordable Care Act because the chain opposes them on religious grounds, as well as the 2017 Masterpiece Cakeshop case in which justices allowed a Colorado baker to refuse to bake cakes for same-sex weddings on religious grounds.

Lydia Macy, 17, left, and Mira Gottlieb, 16, both of Berkeley, Calif., rally outside of the Supreme Court on the day of the hearing for the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

By law, federal contractors are required to ensure equal opportunity in their employment processes. In 2014, then-President Obama barred government contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender employees and applicants.

The new directive does not repeal Obama’s order but reminds the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs staff that there are religious exceptions to that rule. The directive stipulates that staff must permit “faith-based and community organizations, to the fullest opportunity permitted by law, to compete on a level playing field for … [Federal] contracts.” Employees “must respect the right of ‘religious people and institutions … to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or retaliation by the Federal Government.'”

Many religious and civil groups criticized the directive.

“It appears to be the Trump administration stepping back from the accountability measures many people would expect with government funding,” said K. Hollyn Hollman, general counsel for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, an advocacy organization committed to civil liberties and separation of church and state.

Hollman said Americans expect that the government would not preclude contractors from government-funded jobs because of their religious or LGBT status.

LGBT groups went further:

“Nothing in the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision compelled the Department of Labor to issue the directives that went out last week,” said Sharon McGowan, legal director and chief strategy officer of Lambda Legal. “But Lambda Legal is not surprised to see this administration seize on the decision as a way to justify its ongoing assault on the civil rights of the LGBT community.”

About the author

Yonat Shimron

Yonat Shimron is an RNS National Reporter and Senior Editor.

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  • Time for a major lawsuit.

    Either the civil rights act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of religious belief, or it does not. Let us hope that someone finally has the condones to call this exactly what it is.

    Be careful of what you wish for, o kind, gracious, loving evangelicals. You might get it.

  • The article erroneously throws in the Masterpiece Bakery case.

    That case has nothing at all to do with it.

    The relevant law is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 103-141, 107 Stat. 1488 (November 16, 1993), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb through 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-4.

    This law, introduced in the House by Chuck Schumer and in the Senate by Ted Kennedy, was approved unanimously U.S. House and three senators short of unanimous in the Senate.

    The law, which has been upheld by the Surpeme Court, “ensures that interests in religious freedom are protected.”

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is irrelevant.

  • I look forward to reading about cases where an Orthodox Jew working at McDonald’s refuses to make a cheeseburger because the Torah instructs Jews not to mix meat with dairy products, or a Hindu worker at McDonald’s refusing to make a regular hamburger because in her religion cows are considered sacred. The list of “sincerely-held religious beliefs” is endless. Talk about a slippery slope!

  • “People of faith” whose greatest concern is marginalizing LGBT people do not actually have any faith. They have obsession.

  • Unfortunately in this case Bob is right. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 only applied to race. Sexual orientation is not mentioned.

  • Somehow those imaginary cases seem beyond imaginary, they seem contrived.

    An Orthodox Jew would have a lot more to complain working at McDonald’s than eating meat with dairy (not mixing – the restriction actually deals with eating the meat in the milk of its mother), for example.

  • The government is only interested in employers’ beliefs.

    Behind all of this is also an anti-labor animus. Workers are meant to be the acolytes of their employer’s faith. To the point where the employer is making personal (and confidential) decisions about how employees spend their paycheck and benefits.

  • Gay children are still, to this very day, being thrown out onto the streets by their parents to fend for themselves for being gay and you dare to say that? Being an ostrich with your head in the sand is very convenient.

  • They have to at least be adolescents to even exhibit as “gay”.

    “Children” are thrown into the streets into the streets by parents when they hit 18 all the time.

    Sometimes it takes a court order when they’re 30.

  • I think the religious liberty only belongs to the employer. If it applied to employees, then Jewish people could have their own holy days off from work and so could Hindus, Muslims, and Christians. The way it works is a right of an employer to make the work place fit his/her own religious beliefs and to heck with the beliefs of the employee.

    He who has the money makes the rules. Especially in a society that believes so strongly in capitalism. It isn’t really about religion – it is about power over others.

  • Eventually this is gonna backfire on the Govt.

    I hope to see some REAL Christians stand up and show what a bunch of lies and hypocrisy this new policy is. Where does Jesus say “hate gay people”?

  • As you usually do, Bob–in fact, as you ALWAYS do–you’ve got it entirely wrong. Your ignorance is as usual not at all surprising.

  • The power of the purse forever rules. And now we even have a president who has made “transactional relationships” fashionable.

  • What’s an “LGBT people”.

    Football teams discriminate people who can’t play football.

    If you can’t live Catholicsm in all its beliefs and teachings, it’s not discrimation to not hire “LGBTQRSTUV people”, it’s an act of charity.

  • Religious people, with the exception of Westboro Church, did not actively seek out gay people to ostracize. Gay people however are actively seeking out people and businesses to ostracize. Gays are on a mission from hell to destroy all religions. The truth we have to face is that God will not tolerate this mission from hell and the earth will be allowed to burn up just as the Book says. We face the facts or we all die with the end of the world. Everyone has read the Book. I don’t think we can wait to the very last minute and then tell God we made a mistake, but I wish you luck.

  • Where does he mention fornication?

    Bestiality?

    And so on?

    There’s a pattern there, one you’d like to disregard.

  • Yes, I’ve read the Book. No eating pig, no eating shellfish, no men getting their hair cut ever, no women wearing gold, no mixing meat and dairy products, no clothes made of mixed fabrics, and plenty more. It’s all there in the Book of Leviticus and it’s all considered “an abomination” to do these things, the same Book that considers men lying with men as with women an abomination. Curiously, I never hear histrionics from people declaring the end of the world because people commit these “abominations” each and every day. Funny, that.

  • Bob knows exactly what he is saying. He isn’t blind, ignorant or dumb. Stupid maybe but not dumb. There is a difference.

    People like him forget that their freedoms are only as good as the freedoms they grant to others. Do unto others and they just might when given the opportunity do unto you!

  • It’s funny to you because what you say is not what the Book says and we both know that what you say is not what the Book says.

  • I think your point is well made. Religious freedom is for the employer. Hobby Lobby can discriminate at will and deny their employees their religious rights.

    That is where all of this is leading. IF you want a job, and IF you aren’t willing to attend the right church you will be out of luck!

    I think Elagabalus is also right, the purse rules. Sane citizens will simply have to pay close attention and boycott businesses that discriminate. I hope to start seeing signs in business windows that proclaim in BIG letter “WE do NOT Discriminate Here, All are Welcome” That is where I will conduct my business.

  • It is always amusing to read someone who purports to be Christian – well Episcopalian – raised Catholic cite cultic laws that expired for Christians circa 33 AD.

  • Hobby Lobby cannot discriminate at will.

    It has not denied a single employee a religious right.

  • People like you forget that her freedoms are only as good as the freedoms she doesn’t deny to others.

  • “Gay children are still, to this very day, being thrown out onto the streets by their parents to fend for themselves for being gay . . .” And, without a doubt, the vast majority of those parents, being consistent with their religious indoctrination, would claim to be “pro-family” when in reality they are grossly anti-family.

  • So all the Levitical laws EXCEPT the one mentioned in Leviticus 18:22 expired in 33 AD. Got it. And if you try to parry by saying that dietary laws are in a separate category then I would refer you to Leviticus 20:10. Have fun trying to get out of that one, especially since Jesus himself mentions adultery, something your choice for president has committed on numerous occasions.

  • “The truth we have to face . . . We face the facts . . .”

    In your mythical world . . .

    truth = TRUTH = Truly Repugnant Unsupportable Theological Hogwash.

    fact = FACT = Fantasy Accepted as Complete Truth.

  • Proving a negative, or “evidence of absence” is never an easy maneuver and you’re clearly not up to the task.

  • The only freedom I am not willing to grant to others is the freedom for them to deny others their freedom!

  • Actually that isn’t true Bob. Many adult gay people report knowing they were gay at an earlier age, before they had actual sexual hormones flowing! The same goes with transgender folk.

  • Well, He DID mention fornication once.

    Which includes, of course, both bestiality and homosexual practice.

  • It certainly has Bob, the right to make their own health care choices based on their belief system whether religious or secular.

  • The problem is that argument sucks, point blank.

    He said came to fulfill the law, not to change it, so the entire moral law of the OT came intact into Christianity.

    That’s why homosexuality, bestiality, fornication, and a long list of other moral prohibitions were not mentioned.

  • In fact “the freedom for them to deny others what I think is their freedom based on an asserted religious freedom claim.”

    In other words, you want to deny others their religious freedom.

    As I recall you were also advocating commandeering medical facilities for procedures you favor but to which others raise religious and/or conscience objections.

    That, I believe, wraps up the Polly Pure pose.

  • You’ve been beaten into the ground on this cr-p several times already.

    No point in beating you further.

  • Exactly.

    Not only that, but the folks who are so obsessed by gays, transgender people, etc., routinely ignore things like the NT passage about swallowing poison and nut succumbing,k handling poisonous snakes, the 20 or so behaviors that merit death penalty, etc.

    It’s interesting that those folks who are so concerned about gays, ALWAYS identify themselves as “Christians”, when in fact they are the ones least likely to understand and honor the teachings of Jesus, least likely to consider Catholics “true Christians”, and so on.

  • Oh, no, and that has been demonstrated to you several times already.

    What it refused to do was pay for contraceptives.

    And the Supreme Court said that was its right under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

    Are you saying that you disapprove of it exercising its rights?

    If you are, you’ve proven my assertion.

  • Nope, I know better given your track record to go back a month or more and copy and paste an entire argument only to face, like this, the same cr-p again in a month or two.

  • The Labor Department directive makes it easier for similarly situated employers to discriminate against LGBT employees or potential employees.

  • By itself the Labor Department directive can’t add an iota to the existing laws as I understand its authority.

    If the directive is contrary to law, there’s a remedy.

    If the directive is consistent with the law, it simply clarifies things so some bureaucratic munchkin doesn’t start a fight like Kathleen Sebelius did with some poor old Catholic sisters.

  • Yes it’s a contrived example, but the halachic restriction involves the mixing of meat and dairy on various levels, not just eating them together.

  • It was actually the Labor Department directive that mentioned Masterpiece. The article is merely reporting what it said.

  • You’re more versed in the restriction that I am, but my recollection was that the entire prohibition stemmed from the prohibition against “boiling a (kid) goat in its mother’s milk”, which was interpreted as prohibiting:

    cooking a mixture of milk and meat

    eating a cooked mixture of milk and meat

    deriving any benefit from a cooked mixture of milk and meat.

    This was also interpreted to requiring, after eating meat, waiting one to six hours before eating dairy (although eating meat after dairy wasn’t prohibited – oddly).

    In any case an Orthodox Jew would find a few other problems working in a McDonald’s.

  • https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/directives/dir2018_03.html

    It refers to Masterpiece stating that the “government violates the Free Exercise clause when its decisions are based on hostility to religion or a religious viewpoint”, which is correct.

    The only law it cites is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act noting “Federal law protects the freedom of Americans and their organizations to exercise religion and participate fully in civic life without undue interference by the Federal Government”.

  • Correct, that is the textual basis for all of these laws. It extends to the maintenance of separate sets of dishes, what happens if a piece of cheese falls on your meat plate, etc.
    Why can you more easily eat meat after dairy from a halachic point of view? The short answer is that the rabbis believed dairy residue stays in your mouth for a shorter amount of time. It won’t get stuck in your teeth. Even here there are specific issues, like hard cheeses, which do leave fattier residue than, for example, a cup of coffee with milk.

  • The Mouth of Bob is almost never right, and even when he’s right, he’s is still often wrong and ALWAYS, ALWAYS a flaming hemorrhoid. He’s wrong here. the civil rights act of 1964 covers religious discrimination. this is religious discrimination, and has no problem admitting it.

    Maybe if he actually knew anything, instead of spending his time fantasizing about my sex life, he could get a date. right now, he is thinking that I like to have sex swinging on a trapeze and wearing fishnet stockings. He said as much.

  • So, at least in theory, a thorough flossing and brushing after a meat meal should eliminate the wait.

  • It depends on the job.

    Among the ones that are safe from serious liability are teacher, religious leader, lay leader, basically any position where failure to support Catholic beliefs and teachings could impact the religious program.

    Janitor or cook? Not so much.

  • The Mouth of Ben is almost never closed, as well as never right.

    At best you’re confused.

    Title II outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce; exempted private clubs without defining the term “private”.

    However, “religion” in the Act deals with something along the lines of “No Catholics Served Here”.

    The Labor Department directive is based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 which provides that the “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise
    of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general
    applicability.”

    Different law, different purpose, different application.

  • A “marriage” no more validates a same sex union than it would an incestuous or inter-species one.

  • There is no histrionics about the abominations whatever they be. These things are between God and the perpetrators. These actions by themselves are not catastrophic for the planet. God zaps no one for their individual sin, other than He may not keep you in good health for as long as you might have been. The point is, when there are only sinners and people that do not accept the written word of God left on the earth, God no longer maintains the proper functioning of the planet.

    Since Obama colluded with SCOTUS and trashed the Constitution, billions of people around the world are no longer in God’s will and the number increases daily with the LGBT attack on religion. God’s people can live on earth with or without the LGBT, however, the same is not true for the LGBT. The LGBT must have some true to God’s word on the planet. Bummer.

  • Legally speaking, you’re completely wrong. Our laws don’t pay heed to your religious fantasies.

  • Life is here and now. Your personal religious beliefs — which coincide with your bigotry — are irrelevant.

  • This latest move by Trumpsky, I suspect, will not withstand court challenge. Let’s hope this blatantly discriminatory directive will be torpedoed — and soon!

  • “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:15-20). Another description for these “family values” types is ‘hypocrisy’.

  • No doubt they’re irrelevant to you. Which makes it odd that you would be frequenting a site that is concerned with religion.

  • Your personal religious beliefs are ultimately irrelevant to every other human being on the planet. Religion isn’t limited to Christianity, or your fundamentalist version of it. I can weigh in on whatever topic I want to.

  • Anyone can shout through the keyhole of the Church door and be summarily disregarded by the occupants. The mystery is why they would want to.

  • While in your mythical world . . .

    truth = TRUTH = Truly Repugnant Unsupportable Atheist Hogwash.

    fact = FACT = Fantasy Accepted as Complete Truth.

    How is that superior?

  • A few decades ago, people used “sincerely held religious beliefs” as a reason to promote legal discrimination on the basis of race. Now, we are using this excuse to permit other kinds of discrimination. It is just as wrong now as it was then.

  • I think they consider the bacon/shellfish argument the one most likely to convince the ignorant, so they cling to it even after it has been dismantled. Truth is less important than agenda.

  • All because evangelicals have a deep-seated hatred of gay people. So, taxes are to be taken from gay people and given to Evangelical organizations to actively mistreat gay people. That’s ok – someday the tables are gonna turn, and tax money will be taken from Evangelicals and given to groups that will actively mistreat Evangelicals. And when Evangelicals beg for fairness, they’ll be ignored. What goes around comes around. One day it’s gonna be Evangelicals turn on the rack and they won’t find any mercy, just as they had no mercy to give when they were in charge.

  • Funny thing…

    Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (Alito writing for the court): “The principal dissent raises the possibility that discrimination in hiring, for example on the basis of race, might be cloaked as religious practice to escape legal sanction. See post, at 32–33. Our decision today provides no such shield. The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal.”

    I don’t see how that analysis changes because it’s sexual orientation, and not race.

  • No, it’s not based upon that.

    From the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision: “The principal dissent raises the possibility that discrimination in hiring, for example on the basis of race, might be cloaked as religious practice to escape legal sanction. See post, at 32–33. Our decision today provides no such shield. The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal.”

    The analysis does not change just because it is race, versus sexual orientation. So, the fact that a contractor discriminates in hiring gay people does not exempt them from anti-discrimination laws. Your argument that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act requires an exemption for religious people is actually directly contradicted by Alito’s opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (which was decided solely upon the Religious Freedom Restoration Act).

  • “Most” has little to do with true.

    And “Christian” has nothing at all to do with you.

    Good night.

  • You are correct: I am not Christian. Then again, neither are you. You’re another fake Christian with an ulterior agenda.

  • If a religious person can’t put down a gay person they wouldn’t know what to do with their day.

  • Explain how the Hobby Lobby decision quotation, which comments on the dissenting opinion’s concern about racial discrimination, bears on religion which is the topic of discussion.

    It doesn’t.

    In fact the Hobby Lobby decision affirms that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 exempts Hobby Lobby from a requirement of general applicability.

    And where in the world did hiring come from?

    The directive did not address hiring, nor did the article.

    https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/directives/dir2018_03.html

  • Um, perhaps because there are both constitutional provisions and federal legislation addressing racial discrimination but not sexual orientation?

  • Yes. I was talking about employment in general. In many jurisdictions, anyone can be fired for being gay, whether it’s a ministerial exception or not. Of course a Catholic organization (helped ironically by a Supreme Court case involving a Lutheran church) would have the ministerial exception even in LGBT-protecting jurisdictions, including for at least some schoolteachers.

  • Theoretically yes, but halacha tends toward bright-line rules. 1-6 hours after meat depending on what authority you follow. Maybe with flossing you’ll miss something, but we can say that halachically the food in your mouth will have broken down enough that “mixing” it with dairy is not prohibited.
    Flossing can’t hurt, of course, you should do it anyway.

  • Um, the only ones seeking to attack anyone are the Christian bigots here. They are the ones seeking legal privilege to deny others goods and services in open commerce, access to government agencies, employment and housing.

    You are not a victim, you are the villain here.

    As for the rest, nobody has to care what you think your invisible sky daddy will do to people you don’t agree with.

  • So Christians can lie with impunity. The old law against bearing false witness does not apply. BTW since Jesus said zilch on homosexuality, you guys rely on “the old law” for that. bigoted Christians are never honest about how they use the OT.

  • OK, so you are just announcing you are a gay-baiting bigot. And…..?

    Religious freedom means nobody has to care what your religious beliefs are, nor can be compelled to care.

  • Surprisingly – I know I was surprised – the research indicates flossing has no effect on dental health.

    Since my family line does not keep kosher, it’s moot except for illuminating the process of considering the issue.

  • Just the facts sir.
    FYI-I am RCC; not evangelical-so the church considers more than the Bible that it put together.

  • “Labor Department bolsters faith exemptions from nondiscrimination laws”

    ie. . . . As long as a person’s sincerely-held belief (so-called “faith”) is based on Biblical Senselessness (BS), the Labor Department will grant exemptions from nondiscrimination laws. But, if a person’s belief is grounded in reason, evidence, and logic, no exemptions are granted. The Labor Department is saying that BS is the only respectable/acceptable basis for beliefs . . . which is essential and convenient because reason, evidence, and logic supports virtually all nondiscrimination laws.

  • She was a teacher who taught mainly secular subjects but also had religious teaching requirements at times.

  • Poor poor Christian victims? Evencwith god on your side, you cannot stand against BIG GAY.

    Fear our power. fear our power.

  • “Prayers have no place in public school. Just like facts have no place in organized religion”
    -Superintendant Chalmers

  • I’am merely pointing out the reason for global warming and a simple change that could slow it down. Your response is childish. I’am not expecting anything more from the likes of you, but I have been given a job to do so that you will have no excuse on your last day. I’am not against your big gay hero, I do know what happens to him. I’am amazed and puzzled that you (LGBT) will let the world burn up with no thought for the innocent. That is how much hate you have for God and humanity. Remember, you have no power except that which God gave to you.

  • And here I thought the world burning up was a good thing.

    Oh, wait. According to hyper conservatives, global warmin* is s myth.

    Me? childish? Have you looked at the number of contradictions?

  • At the top of my page here it says Religion News Service. Nine out of ten religions around the world believe in a god, maybe not the same as my God, but a god. You are on this site because you are seeking one of these gods. You are right, I’am not a victim, I’am rooting for the one and only God which happens to be my God.

    You on the other hand, are willing that all die for your cause. I’am for life, including yours, while your wager is everyone’s life, your bet that there is no God. You call me the villain while I’am for life and you choose death. Again, what are you doing on this site?

  • Sorry buddy, you are still not a victim because you are somehow unable to treat other people like crap and blame your religion on your feckless malicious behavior.

    You are looking for excuses to act boorishly and rude to people and using religious belief as a way to pretend it is somehow socially acceptable.

    “I’am for life”

    As long as you get to command others to live according to your demands.

    Btw Pascal’s wager is a terrible argument to make. It posits that your God is vain, petty and immoral by nature. A being unworthy of worship who demands dishonest fear and rather than sincere devotion. It speaks badly of your beliefs and how you see others.

    Death is all you guys are for. Its all about what happens when you die and hope for some fantasy afterlife. It is not about life or the lives of people. That is not a religion thing, that is a Christian Fundamentalist thing. Not every religious belief even has an afterlife, let alone an eternal one.

  • “Porneia” is simply a matter of licit vs. illicit. What was illicit was pretty much a given for Jesus and His listeners.

    The NT tells us that the way to avoid it is for a man to have his own wife, and a woman her own husband. Nuff said.

  • You chose to interpret it in the way that suited a desire to treat others badly and seek socially acceptance for doing so.

    Its not God, scripture, or self-serving translations of ancient texts (which lack any objective scholarship behind them), which drive your unpleasant demeanor. That is all you. 🙂

  • Once again, before wading into a discussion of ancient texts and/or scholarship behind them, you have to actually STUDY them.

    I’m sorry, Tater, but you simply can not bluff your way through a matter like this. You will get reamed every time.

  • Supreme Court doesn’t agree with you there. From Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission: “Our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth. For that reason the laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect them in the exercise of their civil rights. The exercise of their freedom on terms equal to others must be given great weight and respect by the courts.”

  • Are you still trying to pretend I have to care what you are saying about a faith you are not part of nor seem to have any contact with those who are? Good luck with that. I have no compelling reason to take your nonsense at face value.
    Peddle it to people who are a bit more naive.

    Your friend, Spuddie.

  • Oh Great Prophet Shawnie is upset that others do not accept her as the sole true voice if God on earth. 🙂

  • The question is, what specifically is the “freedom” that they are to exercise?

    There is no Constitutional right (except in the case of the right to vote) to gender-related equality, as there is to racial equality. Some states, however, have chosen to extend the right to such equality — provided, of course, that it does not substantially impair some other Constitutionally protected right, such as the free exercise of religion.

  • And this paticular executive order has prohibited the discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

    Your argument is that race is somehow different because it’s in the Constitution is not supported by case law. The Supreme Court has in fact upheld that laws can prohibit things such as discrimination against sexual orientation in hiring.

    I don’t see how Alito’s analysis changes based upon the fact that it’s sexual orientation, rather than race. Are you saying that the government does not have a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to sexual orientation? Or are you saying that the laws (which are often the same laws that prohibit racial discrimination) are not precisely tailored to achieve that goal?

    Please explain your argument and legal analysis. Those are your only two options if you believe that the analysis is different for sexual orientation discrimination than it is for racial discrimination. Please incorporate the quotes from Masterpiece Cakeshop which specifically say that the government must protect gay people in the exercise of their civil rights.

  • Laws CAN prohibit discrimination for sexual orientation — provided they do not substantially pair other Constitutional rights. However, they often don’t. And nothing in the Constitution states that they must.

    “I don’t see how Alito’s analysis changes based upon the fact that it’s sexual orientation, rather than race.”

    I guess you never heard of levels of scrutiny.

    Almost nothing receives the degree of scrutiny that race does. Because of our country’s peculiar history wrt it, and because we enacted an Amendment specifically addressing it.

    If you’re not ok with that, get busy getting the ERA re-submitted. Although I don’t think you’ll get it this time either, but for different reasons than the first time around.

  • And you have yet to present your argument on your legal analysis.

    Strict Scrutiny (the highest level of scrutiny) requires three things (which means that if an action actually survives this level, it will survive lower levels of scrutiny as well):

    1. The action must be justified by a compelling government interest. Obviously the Supreme Court believes that “Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race”. Do you not believe that the same government has the same compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to sexual orientation? I think you’d have a hard time arguing that, especially when the Supreme Court says that the government has a compelling interest in protecting the civil rights of LGBT people (Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission).

    2. The action must be narrowly tailored to achieve that goal. So, let me ask you if you believe that a law is “precisely tailored” to provide “an equal opportunity in the workforce without regard to race” wouldn’t be “precisely tailored” to provide “an equal opportunity in the workforce without regard to” sexual orientation? Please explain this to me.

    3. The action must be the least restrictive way of achieving that goal (or one of the least restrictive ways of achieving that goal). This is where the Hobby Lobby case failed the analysis. So, let me ask you, do you think that this is the least restrictive way of furthering this goal when it comes to race, why don’t you think that this is the least restrictive way of furthering this goal when it comes to sexual orientation?

    So, if you want a religious exemption being required by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, you must find that one of those three things is not true. So, let’s hear your argument. How does the government not have a compelling interest in preventing sexual orientation discrimination, when the Supreme Court has said that they do?

  • Two and three need not be addressed because the issue exists wrt one.

    So you believe sexual orientation should receive strict scrutiny analysis. No surprise there — so does most of the alphabet club. You’re not going to get that, though; if King Kennedy wanted that (which I personally don’t believe he did) he should have seized the opportunity to rule on the merits of the case instead of ducking out and turning it over to the more conservative court set to follow him. As it stands, there is nothing in Masterpiece or any other SCOTUS decision requiring that sexual orientation receive strict scrutiny equal to race — although Masterpiece DOES affirm that restrictions on religion and speech must receive it.

  • You don’t understand the analysis of strict scrutiny. A law that impedes a right gets a balancing test applied to it. In this case, religion (which is what the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does is apply strict scrutiny analysis to religious freedom).

    So, we have a governmental action.

    I put down strict scrutiny based upon your insistance of First Amendment rights. The strict scrutiny analysis doesn’t follow gay people, but the Religious Freedom.

    So, we have a law that impedes religious freedom, according to you. Since it is a Federal Law and Federal Action, then the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 applies to it. If it was a State Law, then that law doesn’t apply (therefore putting more of a rational basis scrutiny on it, which just applies a “neutral law of general applicability” test to it, as laid out in Employment Division v. Smith).

    So, do you believe that the government has a compelling interest in providing an equal job market to people without regard to sexual orientation? If you believe that the government does have a compelling interest (which the Supreme Court does, as it clearly states that: “Our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples
    cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and
    worth. For that reason the laws and the Constitution can, and in some
    instances must, protect them in the exercise of their civil rights. The
    exercise of their freedom on terms equal to others must be given great
    weight and respect by the courts.”

    That is basically saying that the state has a compelling interest in protecting gay persons and gay couples in exercising their civil rights. So, that prong of the strict scrutiny standard is met.

    The “narrowly tailored” and “least restrictive means” standards are met, which specifically said that in Hobby Lobby.

    A law protecting gay people from being discriminated against in the basis of hiring survives the strict scrutiny standard that is required by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

    This has nothing to do with whether “gay people” get strict scrutiny (there’s some evidence that they would, considering rulings such as Romer v. Evans which struck down a law that prevented local jurisdictions from passing civil rights legislation protecting gay people, but that’s not necessary to get into this standard).

    I don’t think that you could read the quote that Kennedy wrote above (joined by Roberts, Breyer, Alito, Kagan, and Gorsuch) and read it any other way. If they didn’t have a compelling interest, then why would the constitution and laws “must protect them” in exercising their civil rights?

  • “That is basically saying that the state has a compelling interest in protecting gay persons and gay couples in exercising their civil rights.” No, that is not what it is “basically” saying. Not in the least.

  • Yes, it is, buddy. The government “can, and in some cases must” protect gay rights.

    It states in that same paragraph: “Nevertheless, while those religious and philosophical objections are protected, it is a general rule that such objections do not allow business owners and other actors in the economy and in society to deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law. See Newman v. Piggy Park Enterprises, Inc.,”

    It states in another place in the opinion: “It is unexceptional that Colorado law can protect gay persons, just as it can protect other classes of individuals, in acquiring whatever products and services they choose on the same terms and conditions as are offered to other members of the public.”

    You cannot read section II-B of the Masterpiece Cakeshop opinion and state that the government does not have a compelling interest in prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

    You have yet to present any sort of argument that government does not have a compelling interest in protecting gay rights. All you have presented is that sexual orientation is not race. However, that does not preclude the government from having a compelling interest in protecting the civil rights. Religion is not race either. However, the government has a compelling interest in prohibiting discrimination against religion. Disability isn’t race either. However, the government has a compelling interest in prohibiting discrimination based upon disability as well.

    Your argument leaves a lot to be desired.

  • Scripture has nothing to do with government laws and regulations.

    We don’t care what your Scripture or someone else’s says.

    I’m glad you like a book. But it’s your book. Not ours.

  • I keep citing what you wrote when I rebut.

    Maybe you mean I should try to figure out what you meant to write?

  • You stumbled into the wrong thread, then. The post that started it was about Jesus and homosexuality.

  • “You cannot read section II-B of the Masterpiece Cakeshop opinion and state that the government does not have a compelling interest in prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.” Then quote where exactly the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision states that the government’s interest here is “compelling.”

  • Where does it say that the government does not have a compelling interest in protecting the civil rights of gay people? Where does it say that civil rights on the basis of sexual orientation should be treated any differently from civil rights on the basis of race?

    The Supreme Court directly cited a case (Piggie Park Enterprises v. Newman) where the original case was a restaurant was claiming a religious exemption to a non-discrimination law on the basis of race.

    They state in the opinion: “It is unexceptional that Colorado law can protect gay persons, just as it can protect other classes of individuals, in acquiring whatever products and services they choose on the same terms and conditions as are offered to other members of the public.”

    In Hurley v. GLIB, the court says: “Provisions like these are well within the State’s usual power to enact when a legislature has reason to believe that a given group is the target of discrimination, and they do not, as a general matter, violate the First or Fourteenth Amendments…”

    There is nothing in the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision to suggest that the Supreme Court did not find a compelling interest in protecting the civil rights of gays. Anybody reading Section II-A would read the sentance that says that the government can, and in some cases must, protect the civil rights of gay and lesbian people as having a compelling interest to do so.

  • Thanks to the continuing false allegations of “lying”, I’ve been quoting you as part of my comments.

    Let’s see what you do with that.

  • You do know the difference between comments to an article and a thread of replies to a particular POST, don’t you???

    I suggest you address your complaints to the person up above who asked where Jesus addressed homosexuality. Oh wait, he’s one of yours, so deviation from topic in his case is ok. ?

  • Once again, more slowly…SCOTUS jurisprudence wrt “government interest” is literally all over the place. There are compelling interests, important interests, legitimate interests — and interests that are one any one of those in one context are sometimes something else in another. It is a mess, and the reason it is a mess is because constitutional provisions which were enacted for simple and specific purposes have been stretched out of shape in order to enlarge federal power, and I believe all the SCOTUS justices know this even as they are complicit in it.

    What we have here is a “government interest”(eliminating sexual orientation discrimination) which has never yet been called “compelling” — indeed, which so far the SCOTUS has gone out of its way to avoid calling compelling — which faces limitation by Constitutionally specified and guaranteed fundamental rights (speech and religion) that require the interest to be compelling. While Masterpiece’s dicta summarized the various strong points of both sides’ cases, nothing in Masterpiece itself necessitates a future finding of a “compelling” interest that outweighs the protections of the 1st Amendment. You stood your best chance of getting it with Kennedy still on the bench, and I don’t believe even he would have gone for it. With the SCOTUS now headed rightward, you probably won’t get it for the foreseeable future. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am — I fully expected Kennedy to find some excuse for leaving this question to his more conservative successors, and he did.

    Get busy on an amendment. Thanks for the discussion. Good night.

  • https://disqus.com/home/discussion/religionnews/labor_department_bolsters_religious_exemptions_from_nondiscrimination_laws/#comment-4048879026

    “You haven’t been quoting me Bob you are projecting yourself.”

    As a result of accusations of both lying and projecting, e.g.

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/religionnews/labor_department_bolsters_religious_exemptions_from_nondiscrimination_laws/#comment-4047180305

    “No you don’t Bob. You lie about what I write.”

    I began quoting when responding. That should end those nonsensical allegations.

  • https://disqus.com/home/discussion/religionnews/pennsylvania_grand_jury_report_is_a_new_low_for_catholic_church/#comment-4049230843

    “Honey, you lost so badly you’ll need a ladder to see ground level.”

    “https://disqus.com/home/dis…”

    “Unless you’re denying the fact that you’re an atheist does not call into question your neutrality and expertise in matters biblical, or lead to questions about ulterior motives”

    “Of course you can opine ‘that ATF45 and (her) friends might have helped get Christianity off to a better start if they had been around’.”

    “And of course I can take that opinion apart piece by piece and suggest you are without a clue.”

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/religionnews/labor_department_bolsters_religious_exemptions_from_nondiscrimination_laws/#comment-4049895480

    “You lie Bob.”

    Voila, that won’t work anymore.

    So, what’s your next evasion?

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