WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Vice President Mike Pence is defending President Donald Trump's decision to retain Obama administration protections for LGBT workers.
In an interview on February 5, Vice President Pence told George Stephanopoulos:
I think throughout the campaign, President Trump made it clear that discrimination would have no place in our administration. He was the very first Republican nominee to mention the LGBTQ community at our Republican National Convention and was applauded for it. And I was there applauding with him. I think the generosity of his spirit, recognizing that in the patriot's heart, there's no room for prejudice, is part of who this president is.
In July 2014, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order (EO) 13672 which amended previous executive orders, prohibiting discrimination in the federal workplace. It purportedly prohibits discrimination when it comes to federal hiring on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Before he signed the EO, President Obama remarked, "Despite all that, in too many states and in too many workplaces, simply being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender can still be a fireable offense. There are people here today who've lost their jobs for that reason."
In response, many Christian organizations in 2014 criticized the EO as an attack on religious freedom. The Family Research Council stated:
Religious faith is not simply a matter of intellectual affirmation but of active practice. A religious organization which is denied the power to require its employees to conduct their lives in a way consistent with the teachings of their faith is an organization which is being denied the right to exercise its religion, period. People with deeply-held convictions regarding the morality of certain types of sexual behavior should not be bound by the dictates of President Obama's agenda.
In response to President Trump keeping EO 13672, some social conservatives are dismayed.
Brian Camenker, president of pro-family organization Mass Resistance, commented, "President Trump has decided to continue to aggressively force every business and non-profit that works with the federal government to accept the left's favored sexual perversions — homosexuality and cross-dressing and transgenderism — into their business operations."
Erick Erickson, conservative commentator wrote:
President Trump promised to repeal that executive order because he recognized that it amounted to discrimination against the religious by forcing them to buy into secular lies about human sexuality, and it hurts the poor by advancing a politically correct agenda at the expense of helping the poor and needy. Violating that promise suggests President Trump is comfortable resting on a Supreme Court pick for affirmation while still operating under the assumption that Christians can be treated as second-class citizens by the government.
In spite of keeping this EO, there are reports suggesting President Trump will be signing an executive order on religious freedom soon.
The draft allegedly reads, "Persons and organizations do not forfeit their religious freedom when providing social services, education or healthcare; earning a living, seeking a job or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts: or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square or interfacing with federal, state or local governments."
When asked if there are any executive orders in the works, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer commented, "I'm not getting ahead of the executive orders that we may or may not issue. There are a lot of executive orders, a lot of things that the president has talked about and will continue to fulfill, but we have nothing on that front now."
During the National Prayer Breakfast on February 2, President Trump vowed to protect religious freedom, which he asserted is under attack.
He remarked, "Freedom of religion is a sacred right. But it is also a right under threat all around us, and the world is under serious, serious threat in so many different ways. And I've never seen it so much and so openly as since I took the position of president."