Far-left academics want the federal government to sever its relationship with charitable groups that oppose abortion and special rights for homosexuals.
The effort comes from law professors at Columbia University and their "Public Rights/Private Conscience Project," which specifically targets the Catholic Church.
A memo published May 18 by the professors argues that if religious organizations receive federal grants, they shouldn't be permitted to practice their religious beliefs in providing services.
Tony Mangini, an attorney with the Center for Religious Expression, says the authors of the memo see no way to accommodate religious expression.
"But the real alarming thing is that their logic isn't really limited to the federal grant issue," the attorney warns. "They don't believe that there's any room to accommodate religious beliefs in any aspect of society."
The website for the Conscience Project helpfully explains its goals:
We conceptualize and operationalize new frames for understanding religious exemptions and their relationship to reproductive and sexual liberty and equality rights, and disseminate those frames through legal scholarship, public policy interventions, advocacy support, and popular media representation.
Such an authoritarian suggestion would mirror the left-wing belief that Americans have "freedom of worship," which means people's religious beliefs are confined to the church and absent in the public square.
"I support the right of people to believe what they do and say what they wish - in their pews, homes and hearts," Frank Bruni, The New York Times columnist, infamously wrote in a 2015 commentary.
The Heritage Foundation among other groups has raised concerns over the phrasing, which has been used by President Barack Obama and which even appeared on a civics test for legal U.S. immigrants.
“We in the United States actually have freedom of religion, not freedom of worship," U.S. Rep. James Lankford (R-OK), referring to the test question, stated at a congressional hearing in 2015.
In the view of the Left, Mangini further explains, it's unacceptable for the government to allow such beliefs.
"Because some people are offended by the fact that others disagree with them," he says.
The liberal conference that produced the memo from academia was financed by the Ford Foundation, which supports Planned Parenthood and the ARCUS Foundation, which opposes Catholic teachings that support natural marraige.
There are organizations that get federal funding that do provide abortion and service homosexuals, the CRE attorney points out.
"But their ultimate goal is the total abolition of all beliefs that don't line up with liberal ideology," he says. "They want to make absolutely sure that the only thing standing between charities and federal grants would be the organization's beliefs."
The bottom line, says Mangini, is you abandon your beliefs or be denied funds.