Guest / Limited Access /
Obama's Contract Killer
Image: Shawn Thew / EPA

When the White House announced plans to bar federal contractors from considering sexual orientation or gender identity when hiring, Christian leaders mobilized.

Dozens of leaders at colleges, relief and development organizations, publishing houses (including CT's parent company), and megachurches signed letters urging President Obama to include explicit protections for religious organizations. Without such exemptions, one letter warned, the move—intended to circumvent Congress's long-standing impasse over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)—"will come at an unreasonable cost to the common good, national unity, and religious freedom." The letters made national news, with signer Gordon College president Michael Lindsay becoming a particular focus for criticism in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.

Obama signed the executive order in late July, and it included no such exemptions. (The U.S. Senate passed an ENDA bill that explicitly exempts religious organizations, but it has languished in the House.)

But Obama's order also didn't directly affect most organizations whose leaders signed the letters.

Many Christian organizations that work with the government—such as World Vision and World Relief—do so not through contracts but through grants, in a process that is much less regulated. Meanwhile, the President left untouched a 2007 Bush administration memo allowing World Vision (and, implicitly, other religious organizations that partner with the government) to hire and fire on the basis of religious belief.

So was the order actually a quiet win for religious groups? Leaders say no. They believe that, even though few ministries contract with the government, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Receiving the Little Children
Along the Mexican border, U.S. churches care for undocumented children.
RecommendedTrump’s Revised Refugee Ban Won’t Prioritize Persecuted Christians
Trump’s Revised Refugee Ban Won’t Prioritize Persecuted Christians
White House softens executive order; Andy Stanley joins evangelical leaders urging compassion.
TrendingRussia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Russia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Group gives Protestants competition for souls, but also an ally on religious freedom.
Editor's PickAfter 40 Girls Die in Orphanage Fire, Guatemala Asks Evangelicals for Advice
After 40 Girls Die in Orphanage Fire, Guatemala Asks Evangelicals for Advice
Tragedy becomes impetus for reforms sought by Christian experts.
Christianity Today
Obama's Contract Killer
hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2014

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.