The Biden Department of Labor (DOL) proposed rescinding a Trump administration rule that protects the religious liberty of faith-based organizations that contract with the federal government.
On Tuesday the DOL said it would roll back the Trump rule that went into effect on January 8 and allows religious groups that are federal contractors to specifically hire people who hold to their faith beliefs.
In August 2019, the Trump Labor Department announced the proposed rule intended to clarify that faith-based organizations “may make employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs without fear of sanction by the federal government.”
The Biden administration signaled it intended to overturn the rule, however, after civil rights organizations claimed it allowed discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in terms of hiring by faith-based groups.
The Biden administration is claiming the Trump rule “departed from” the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) “longstanding policy and practice of applying principles and case law to interpret the exemption.”
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Jenny R. Yang claimed:
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ proposed rescission would protect against discrimination and safeguard principles of religious freedom. With this proposal, OFCCP would simply return to our policy and practice of considering the facts of each case and applying Title VII principles and case law and other applicable law.
But, Mary Beth Waddell, Family Research Council’s director of Federal Affairs for Family and Religious Liberty, said the Biden administration is actually “couching its change in terms of following precedent and the law to promote religious freedom,” and “doing the opposite.”
Waddell said in a statement sent to Breitbart News:
This Department of Labor proposed rule curtails the ability of religious individuals and entities to live out their faith in the public square. This is one of many choices the Biden administration has made to sideline religious freedom and elevate other policies in its place.
“Religious freedom must protect the ability to practice and exercise sincerely held religious beliefs in the public square,” she added. Waddell noted the Trump administration:
…understood this and did not tamper with what constituted a religious exemption in this rule, but rather defined the terms and added a rule of construction in favor of the broadest protection of religious exercise ‘permitted by the U.S. Constitution and law.’
Waddell explained that, under the Trump-era rule, “religion” was defined as including “all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief.” She went on:
The Biden administration’s move away from this definition is bad news. Faith-based entities should not be denied government contracts and grants just because they want their employees to follow the same faith tenets they do. They should be allowed to freely exercise their religious freedom and run their business in accordance with the tenets of their faith.
American Atheists released a statement praising the Biden DOL’s proposed rule as it claimed the administration was “restoring workers’ freedom of religion.”
“The government should never fund businesses that justify discrimination based on religious beliefs,” said Alison Gill, the group’s vice president for legal and policy. “And American taxpayers should never be forced to be complicit in discrimination.”
Nick Fish, president of American Atheists, added, “Finally, atheists, LGBTQ people, women, and religious minorities will see these important protections restored.”
“Let me be clear: The people who will be complaining about this change do not care about religious freedom—they only care about how they can use religion as a weapon against people different from them,” he stated.
But Terry Schilling, president of American Principles Project, said in a statement sent to Breitbart News that the proposed rescission of the Trump-era rule is a sign that “Joe Biden’s anti-American war on our fundamental freedoms continues.”
The administration is lying when they claim this move will prevent “discrimination.” In fact, it will do the very opposite: by eliminating critical religious liberty protections, the administration is declaring open season on persecuting religious organizations that dare to dissent from the left’s prevailing sexual orthodoxy. This is an affront to the First Amendment, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone — this is who they are. They oppose free speech. They reject the idea of religious freedom. The once great Democratic Party has been reduced to a bunch of would-be totalitarians hellbent on forcing everyone to submit to their insane mandates on gender, critical race theory, or even the latest politicized COVID “science.”
“It’s obviously not going to work,” Schilling said. “Americans are sick and tired of the left’s radicalism, and there will be political hell to pay next November.”