Earlier this month, President Joe Biden issued an executive order, “Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons Around the World,” directing U.S. government entities to “pursue an end to violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics.”
When we talk about human rights, it’s important to remember that every individual is entitled to his or her rights to life, freedom of belief, speech, and conscience. These are unalienable human rights.
These rights are universal, precisely because they stem from our inherent human dignity, and are not a result of one’s membership in any particular group. Setting these rights on any foundation other than our shared humanity weakens the exercise of those rights rather than strengthens them.
In fact, that is what Biden’s new memorandum threatens to do. The administration’s directive for eradicating violence and discrimination is fraught with peril for the free exercise of religious belief, conscience, and speech. It illustrates the left’s prejudice against faith and tradition.
This new executive order will have substantial impact on our foreign aid and diplomacy. It will have potentially far-reaching consequences for religious liberty and freedom of conscience for American faith-based organizations that operate around the world and for religious believers of all different creeds in other countries.
To be clear, targeted violence on the basis of any characteristic is repellant and wrong. And the U.S. government should advocate for the protection of human rights and defend the victims of human rights abuses wherever and whenever possible.
But this memo goes far beyond that.