Religious leaders have the option of participating in the White House’s religious freedoms bill, but they won’t be allowed to participate if they oppose Trump’s policies.
| AP Photo House passes bill to protect religious freedom, protect religious liberty from discrimination article House Republicans passed a religious freedom act Wednesday that protects religious liberty in the federal government and bans discrimination against people who have religious objections to LGBT rights.
The legislation would prohibit the government from penalizing companies that refuse to offer goods or services to a person based on that person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
It would also prohibit federal agencies from denying funds or hiring people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
It would also bar the federal courts from enforcing anti-discrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, including protections against employment discrimination.
The bill passed by the House overwhelmingly Thursday, but Republicans in the Senate must now pass the bill.
The White House has yet to say whether it will sign the bill, which President Donald Trump has repeatedly pledged to do.
The Trump administration has faced backlash over its decision to bar the White, African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American and Native American leaders of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from attending the Whitehouse Easter Egg Roll in April, despite their objections to the administration’s policies on gay marriage.
The president later said he did not object to the Catholic leaders because he doesn’t believe it’s a “Catholic issue.”
But religious leaders have warned that the WhiteHouse decision would lead to a slippery slope to discrimination and discrimination against religious people.
“It is the duty of religious leaders to stand up for their beliefs, but we are also duty-bound to speak out when we see discrimination against others,” said the Rev. William Barber II, executive director of the National Association of Evangelicals.
“It is our duty to speak up for our beliefs, and it is our right to speak with compassion and understanding, not condemnation and anger.”