Barack Obama is on track to become not just a good, but one of the great US Presidents. But yesterday he made a big mistake.
Obama let stand Bush’s executive order allowing religious organizations to discriminate in hiring on the basis of faith and still receive federal funding. Discrimination on the basis of religion is a direct violation of the First Amendment. And because many faith-based organizations are 100% of one race and one language, have prescribed roles for men and women, and often exclude homosexuals and others who don’t fit their doctrines, this order means that invidious discrimination supported by everyone’s tax dollars is now enshrined in Federal policy. The Constitution protects everyone’s right to associate with those they choose, but it also forbids unequal treatment under the law.
Obama had rightly questioned this policy during the campaign, saying “if you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them–or against the people you hire–on the basis of their religion.”
He was right then and wrong yesterday.