Two archbishops, including Archbishop Charles Chaput, expressed their disappointment over President Donald Trump’s decision Jan. 31 to retain President Barack Obama’s 2014 directive that prohibits federal government contractors from sexual orientation, which it does not define, and gender identity discrimination.
That executive order, 13672, also forbids gender identity discrimination in the employment of federal workers.
In addition to Archbishop Chaput, who is chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the conference’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, issued a joint statement Feb. 1.
They called the Trump administration’s decision not to rescind Obama’s order “troubling and disappointing,” and “deeply flawed.”
“The church steadfastly opposes all unjust discrimination, and we need to continue to advance justice and fairness in the workplace,” they wrote. The executive order, however, “creates problems rather than solves them. In seeking to remedy instances of discrimination, it creates new forms of discrimination against people of faith. Keeping the Executive Order intact is not the answer.”
“We hope that the administration will be open to continued conversations to find ways to advance the cause of justice and respect the conscience rights of all people,” the bishops wrote.
In 2014 two bishops who headed the same committees of the bishops’ conference, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo and Archbishop Lori, called for opposition to Obama’s order, which they called “unprecedented and extreme.”
The order “lends the economic power of the federal government to a deeply flawed understanding of human sexuality, to which faithful Catholics and many other people of faith will not assent. As a result, the order will exclude federal contractors precisely on the basis of their religious beliefs,” they wrote.
The bishops called the order “an anomaly” because it contained no religious liberty protections for religious employers. “In this way, the order, which is fundamentally flawed in itself, also needlessly prefers conflict and exclusion over coexistence and cooperation,” they wrote.