Religious freedom is under assault once again by the Obama administration, this time thanks to a new rule announced last week by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
According to the rule, recipients of federal grants from USAID are now prohibited from discriminating in the provision of services on the basis of, among other things, “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.” While innocent sounding on its face, as the Washington Times reports, the new rule could have an enormous impact on who the federal government contracts with, particularly when it comes to faith-based groups:
Roger Severino, director of the Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, said the rule will create more problems than it solves.
“Of course everyone that is eligible for aid should receive it, but the new rule is a solution in search of a problem and threatens religious aid organizations that provide vital services in reasonable and culturally sensitive ways,” Mr. Severino said. “For example, disaster relief agencies may now be required to open their women’s shower and sleeping facilities to biological males who self-identify as women or be stripped of all funding for alleged ‘gender identity discrimination.’”
Private contractors and nonprofits, many of them Catholic charities or religious humanitarian organizations, receive $16 billion in funding from USAID every year to fight poverty, start schools and eradicate disease, among other endeavors.
“Time and again, we see that when the LGBT agenda conflicts with religious liberty, according to President Obama, religious liberty must lose,” Mr.