It’s hard enough to win a government contract. Now imagine that your beliefs are a disqualifying factor! In Louisiana, that’s exactly the hostile environment Governor John Bel Edwards (D) was trying to create when he issued an executive order excluding conservatives from state partnerships. Like President Obama, Governor Edwards thinks there should be an ideological litmus test for anyone applying to contract with the government — and Christians need not apply.
Earlier this year, he tried to elbow religious contractors out of state work unless they surrendered their views. Under his order, any company that wanted to contract with the Louisiana government had to first adopt special privileges for people who identify as LGBT — including policies on genderless bathrooms and showers. Essentially, applicants had a choice: they could jettison their beliefs to partner with the government or make themselves ineligible by operating according to their faith.
Fortunately for Louisiana, Attorney General Jeff Landry saw the move for what it was: an attack on the First Amendment rights of Louisiana citizens. No free country — least of all America — should punish faith-based contractors for exercising their constitutional freedoms in hiring and firing. So Landry rejected more than 40 state legal contracts, sending his office on a collision course with the governor’s that ended up in state court. “I will not cower to executive overreach; rather, I will continue to defend our Constitution and the will of the people,” Landry said in a statement.
And at least one Louisiana judge thinks he’s well within his powers to do so. In a ruling yesterday, Judge Donald Johnson dealt a serious blow to Edwards’s hopes of strong-arming government contractors. “I believe that the law is uncertain — and it does not provide the court with a clear path,” Johnson said. “The court denies the request of our governor [to bypass the Attorney General’s office on these contracts].” The decision was a huge victory — not just for conscience rights, but for Landry, who, like us, knows the governor doesn’t have the authority to force anyone to surrender their beliefs as a condition of government work.
Edwards, on the other hand, blasted the attorney general for promoting “anti-LGBT discrimination.” But under the Left’s backwards understanding of “discrimination,” that could mean anything from a statement of faith to setting certainly hiring policies or protecting people’s privacy in bathrooms! The reality is, the Left is never going to be satisfied if faith-based groups can contract with the government at all. They want to squeeze Christians out of government at the same time as they’re forcing them out of the marketplace, public square, and schools. But that’s not only unconstitutional — it’s un-American. Individuals, employers, and businesses have the same conscience rights as everyone else, regardless of who they’re partnering with.
Let this be a lesson to conservatives! When courageous men and women like Attorney General Landry or Governor Pat McCrory (R-N.C.) challenge the lawlessness of the Left, they win! This is exactly why more government leaders should be standing up to President Obama and refusing to let these assaults on our foundational principles go unopposed.
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