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Labor Dept.: 'Religious Beliefs' Appropriate In Hiring And Firing Practices

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How would you like to be denied a job because you're Muslim, or Jewish, or an atheist?

What about if you're LGBTQ?

What if you're an unmarried pregnant woman?

These questions are, of course, rhetorical. Denying an individual employment based on her or his religion--or lack thereof--race, sex, sexual identity, ethnicity, et cetera, is illegal.

Or is it?

This is the United States of America under the administration of Donald J. Trump.

Nothing should surprise us anymore.

And here's one more thing.

On Wednesday, the Trump administration proposed a new rule allowing businesses with federal contracts to discriminate against their workers based on LGBTQ status, sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, and other characteristics.

According to the U.S. Labor Department's 46-page draft rule, a range of "religious organizations"--corporations, schools, and societies--can legally refuse someone employment as long as the organization claims "religious purposes."

The White House does not limit the provision solely to religious purposes, however, stating:

"The contractor must be organized for a religious purpose, meaning that it was conceived with a self-identified religious purpose. This need not be the contractor's only purpose. A religious purpose can be shown by articles of incorporation or other founding documents, but that is not the only type of evidence that can be used."

The National Center for Transgender Equality identified the slippery slope in the statement:

"[The rule could allow] firing or refusing to hire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It could also lead to federal contractors refusing to hire women or unmarried workers who are pregnant or parents, or even discrimination on the basis of race."

For example, so long as a business cites religious objections, it would now well within its right to fire an employee because he or she is gay.

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Ted Millar is a writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Straight Forward Poetry, Better Than Starbucks, the Broke Bohemian, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices (more...)

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