ORLANDO, Fla. (Christian Examiner) –The Obama administration's insistence on requiring humanitarian and faith-based groups receiving federal grants to hire homosexuals and transsexuals, could "cause irreparable hard to the children and the needy," a prominent religious liberty lawyer warned.
Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said the Obama administration's regulation demonstrates a clear agenda.
"This is another example of the Obama Administration's hostility toward people of faith and biblical values," Staver said. "Just like he has done with the use of State Department funding for foreign nations, Obama is now using funding to force his immoral agenda on religious organizations. Obama is using the poor and disadvantaged hostages to advance his radical ideology."
The apparent imminent move mandating the hiring of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender applicants – even if doing so would violate a group's religious beliefs -- would follow President Obama's June 2014 executive order.
That order prohibited federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, according to the Center for Family & Human Rights, which quoted an unidentified federal government source.
Faith-based groups were not exempt from that executive order, but the news had less impact on such groups because there are far fewer faith-based contract recipients than grant recipients.
The news could be devastating for the world's poor and needy, simply because of the sheer number of grants to faith-based groups, said Austin Ruse, president of the Center for Family & Human Rights (C-Fam).
"Many religious groups will have no choice but to forego government funding and perhaps close their doors permanently," Ruse said. "Such a policy change will hit hardest in the most desperate part of the world, Africa, where they don't have the luxury to indulge in these new Western ideas of sexuality. They're too busy trying to stay alive."
Catholic groups, he noted, "are there to help" the poor, "but maybe not for much longer." C-Fam is a Catholic organization.
Significantly, the change may not even require an executive order and could be implemented by agencies simply changing their rules.
"The source added that federal agencies are being pressured to make this change without a subsequent executive order and that the State Department legal office has advised the White House that this is not a legal matter but a matter of policy," C-Fam said on its website.
Staver said such a move by the Obama administration could have a dramatic impact within the United States, too.
"Faith-based organizations are providing assistance in communities across America, such as adoption, youth centers, child care and development programs, youth counseling, shelter, and much more," Staver said. "... Christian organizations cannot offer biblical counseling and, at the same time, hire people who do not follow the Bible and their doctrinal positions on human sexuality. Ultimately, this LGBT regulation is going to cause irreparable harm to the children and the needy."
Faith-based groups could fight back in the courts by claiming their rights are being violated under what is called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – a 1993 federal law -- but such a legal move could be costly and time-consuming, C-Fam said.
"Success would be far from certain," the organization said.
Some federal agencies "are hesitant to make the change," but due to pressure from the White House "are reluctant to say no," C-Fam reported.
It would be only the latest unwelcome move from the White House toward faith groups. In December, the Obama administration said that faith-based groups that work with refugee children (minors) must make referrals for abortions.