September 25, 2007

Fighting For the Right to Discriminate

That's the approach taken by numerious (straight) "family-oriented" organizations like the American (Straight) Family Association and the (Straight) Family Research Council. They combined to send out another e-mail trying to influence people to push their legislators to vote against ENDA (Employee Non-Discrimination Act) when it comes up on the floor of the House of Representatives very soon. Here's an excerpt followed by my comments:

o ENDA affords special protection to a group that is not disadvantaged.
That is so ignorant and offensive that it deserves no further attention.
o The issue is not job discrimination: It is whether private businesses will be forced by law to accommodate homosexual activists' attempts to legitimize homosexual behavior.
"Legitimize homosexual behavior?" If by that they mean people having gay sex on the job, I'm not if favor of that myself. If they mean, as I suspect they do, that being a homosexual is not a "legitimate" way to live, then they have claimed a moral high ground that they do not own--only God does. Since he made folks GLBT, they will be just as legitimate in God's eyes as the folks from AFA if they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
o The first "religious exemption" clause is very narrow and offers no clear protection to church-related businesses: Religious schools or charitable organizations, religious bookstores, or any business affiliated with a church or denomination fall outside this narrow definition, and could presumably be required to hire homosexual applicants.
No one is making religious organizations run businesses above and beyond being a church. If they are participating in the business world, they should have to follow the same rules as everyone else.
o The second "religious exemption" clause fails to offer protection for all hiring by church-related organizations or businesses. The position of a teacher of religion at a church-related school would be exempt, but, e.g., that of a biology teacher would not. Thus, most of the teachers and staff at a religious school would be covered by ENDA, which means that the church would be forced to hire homosexual applicants for such positions-despite the fact that their lifestyle would be in direct opposition to the religious beliefs of the organization or company.
Again, if an organization has a business aspect beyond the realm of having church, they should be held to the same standard as a secular business.
o It is unlikely that the "religious exemption" included in the bill would survive court challenge: Institutions that could be targeted include religious summer camps, the Boy Scouts, Christian bookstores, religious publishing houses, religious television and radio stations, and any business with fifteen or more employees.
Let's face it, there aren't many people who will try to go work somewhere they are so clearly not wanted, so this is not really that much of an issue. I don't think drag queens will be lining up to fill out job applications for the Boy Scouts or the local Christian bookstore. If they do and they meet the qualifications, they should be hired. That's the way a free market economy, something which the right-wingers love to support, is supposed to work.
o ENDA violates employers' and employees' Constitutional freedoms of religion, speech and association. The proposed legislation would prohibit employers from taking their most deeply held beliefs into account when making hiring, management, and promotion decisions. This would pose an unprecedented intrusion by the federal government into people's lives.
Folks with this viewpoint think it is perfectly alright to limit the Constitutional freedoms of GLBT people. The only freedom the FRC and AFA support is the freedom to agree with them. Anything else is fair game.
o ENDA would approvingly bring private behavior considered immoral by many into the public square. By declaring that all sexual preferences are equally valid, ENDA would change national policy supporting marriage and family.
I hate to bring this up, but this "private behavior" is already in the public square, restrooms at airports, etc. National policy toward marriage NEEDS to be changed and become inclusive, and if ENDA helps move that ball further downfield, that is merely another benefit to be derived by its passage.

All men (and women) are created equal, and all employment applicants should be treated equally based on the merits of their qualifications. Big business is already waking up to that, actively recruiting and tayloring benefits to attract and keep GLBT employees with valuable skills.

It's a shame to see big business claiming the moral high ground over a block of narrow-minded Christians on this issue.

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