imageJust one day after the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 14 faith leaders wrote President Obama requesting a religious exemption in his planned executive order barring hiring discrimination based on sexual orientation by federal contractors:

… an extension of protection for one group not come at the expense of faith communities whose religious identities and beliefs motivate them to serve those in need.” And, “Without a robust religious exemption . . . this expansion of hiring rights will come at an unreasonable cost to the common good, national unity and religious freedom…

In opposition, a June 2014 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, signed by over 90 religious, civil rights, women’s, and LGBT rights groups maintained:

“Religious Freedom Restoration Act should not be interpreted or employed as a tool for broadly overriding statutory protections against religious discrimination or to create a broad free exercise right to receive government grants without complying with applicable regulations that protect taxpayers.”

The 14 faith leaders aren’t appealing to law, but rather to Obama’s own history of opposing same-sex marriage and stated goals when forming the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. However, while many of the faith leaders who openly requested exemption publicly emphasize all people are created equal in both divine image and love, they imply reaching consensus may be impossible. So rather than even try, a case is made for religious bigotry.

Basically, these religious leaders are requesting the ‘right‘ to discriminate via religion. Apparently Jesus recognizes ‘equality‘ is difficult and that being homophobic and discriminatory, is at times, ok. In truth, these are not moral, loving people … they’re assholes. When discriminating, the impact is not limited to that specific person. Mothers, fathers, children, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, and grandparents feel bigotry’s burden.

Using religious dogma trivializes people, demeans loved ones, their life and families. Zen Buddhism doesn’t make a distinction between same-sex and opposite-sex relationships. Instead, the expectation is not to harm, exploit or manipulate others, which would directly violate the third precept. For instance, Zen Buddhists often refer to hedonism, ascetic masochism and prostitution as practices that violate the “Middle Way.”

If two people have taken no vows and both love each other, why should sexual orientation matter?