Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Ahnold signed into law this week a bill that adds sexual orientation to the state’s anti-discrimination statutes. Naturally, the religious right is in full freak out mode over it and making absolutely hysterical claims about it. I love the way Agape Press describes the bill:

Shock and dismay — that’s how pro-family groups in California are reacting to news this morning that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill that gives homosexuals new and far-reaching powers.

The bill, SB 1441, adds sexual orientation to already existing provisions in the state’s law that prohibit discrimination on the basis of, among other things, race, national origin, ethnic group identification, religion, age, sex, color, or disability. The measure was promoted by a lesbian member of the California legislature and is now the law in that state, a fact that has filled many family advocates with outrage.

You gotta love the fact that they feel the need to say that it was promoted by a lesbian. Never mind that it was approved by a state legislature that is overwhelmingly heterosexual, it came from a lesbian and, obviously, nothing good can possibly come from a lesbian. I also love the fact that they describe the adding of sexual orientation to a list of prohibited forms of discrimination that already includes religion as “new and far-reaching powers”. It’s already illegal to discriminate on the basis of religion, protecting the same folks who are complaining about extending the same protection to others.

Do they think that the anti-discrimination laws gives them “far-reaching powers”? Highly doubtful. It gives no one any “powers” at all, it only recognizes their right not to be discriminated against by organizations using government money (the anti-discrimination provisions only effect groups that receive taxpayer funds, either directly or indirectly). The anti-gays don’t have any problem demanding that the government not discriminate against them; why do they then demand that government should discriminate against gays? Oh yeah….because they’re gay.

And the ridiculous claims don’t end there. They’re also claiming that if the government doesn’t endorse such discrimination, it takes away their right to teach their kids right from wrong. Seriously. I’m not making it up. Look:

Karen England, executive director of the Capitol Resource Institute (CRI), described the measure as not “even a veiled attempt at subtly advancing the radical homosexual agenda,” but “an outright, blatant assault on religious freedom.” She calls the bill “yet another attempt to prevent citizens with moral and religious principles from expressing their beliefs and educating their children according to those beliefs.”

I’ll take idiotic assertions for $1000, Alex. The bill doesn’t have anything at all to do with what beliefs they can express or what they can teach their children. If their argument was correct, then yesterday it must have been illegal to teach children that religion is bad or express such a belief because the law is precisely the same as it was yesterday, it’s just now applied to sexual orientation. Isn’t it amazing how the very same law supposedly means something completely different when it benefits someone other than them?

The religious right is making a big deal out of the fact that the bill contains no explicit exemptions for religious groups, church schools, and so forth. Now, I wholeheartedly agree with them that churches and religious groups should be exempted from most anti-discrimination legislation; free exercise of religion requires being able to put one’s religious views into practice and I don’t believe that we can constitutionally force religious groups to violate their beliefs except in the most extreme of circumstances (preventing child abuse, for example). But this statute deals with who can and can’t get government funds, not what churches or religious groups can and can’t do. They are still entirely free to engage in such discrimination, as they should be, but that doesn’t mean they should get taxpayer’s funds. It is absurd and tyrannical to tax a gay person and send that tax money to an organization that discriminates against him. So by all means, continue to discriminate. Continue to refuse to allow gays to play in your reindeer games. Just do it on your own dime, not mine.

This is the same hypocrisy we hear when they talk about “special rights”. It’s already illegal to discriminate on the basis of religion, but if someone else wants the same rights that they take for granted then they’re demanding “special rights”. The rights they already have suddenly become “special” if someone else gets them.

Comments

  1. #1 Stogoe
    August 30, 2006

    Of course they’re special. Captain Invisible told them so.

  2. #2 Alex
    August 30, 2006

    Do they think that the anti-discrimination laws gives them “far-reaching powers”? Highly doubtful. It gives no one any “powers” at all…

    Obviously, you haven’t read the law. There’s a bit buried in a subclause that actually gives homosexuals the powers of clairvoyance, heat-ray vision, and the ability to match stripes and plaids in a single outfit.

    Where is your outrage?

  3. #3 Skip Evans
    August 30, 2006

    Ed,

    You may be missing something here. In fact, Agape may have a real scoop they’re not fully letting on to just yet.

    Perhaps by “far-reaching powers” Arnold bestowed upon them things like x-ray vision, the ability to leap over tall buildings in single bound, amazing super-human strength, and mind control.

    If the gay community gets ahold of stuff like that there will be no stopping them! We will be at their mercy!

    “Oh, save us, American Family Association, save us!”

  4. #4 Scott Reese
    August 30, 2006

    It is absurd and tyrannical to tax a gay person and send that tax money to an organization that discriminates against him.

    In essence I agree, but what about taxing a religious person and then using that money to support organizations they find morally reprehensible. Some of the homosexual organizations may get government grants to support them, is that alright?

  5. #5 Alex
    August 30, 2006

    On a more serious note, it’s important to realize that the new legislation prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, not homosexuality. As such, it grants no protections, rights, or “powers” to homosexuals that it does not grant in equal measure to heterosexuals.

  6. #6 Alex
    August 30, 2006

    In essence I agree, but what about taxing a religious person and then using that money to support organizations they find morally reprehensible. Some of the homosexual organizations may get government grants to support them, is that alright?

    If these so-called “homosexual organizations” are receiving government grants, then they are also forbidden from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation (i.e., they may not exclude heterosexuals) or religion (i.e., they may not exclude Christians). Therefore, those who are religious are not funding groups who “discriminate against them”, and if they really object to those groups’ messages, they are free to volunteer for the group and work to change it from within.

  7. #7 Kate
    August 30, 2006

    I also was hung up on the “far-reaching powers” bit. It made me think of a recent MacHall comic about the video game “City of Villains”. (Don’t worry, it’s totally work-safe)

    http://www.machall.com/index.php?strip_id=381

  8. #8 caerbannog
    August 30, 2006


    but what about taxing a religious person and then using that money to support organizations they find morally reprehensible. Some of the homosexual organizations may get government grants to support them, is that alright?

    As long as those “morally reprehensible” organizations do not engage in discrimination, then what’s the problem?

    Many religious wingnuts believe that the study and teaching of evolution are morally reprehensible. So is it still ok to use their tax dollars to conduct evolution-based medical research?

  9. #9 Melody
    August 30, 2006

    but what about taxing a religious person and then using that money to support organizations they find morally reprehensible.

    I don’t hear them complaining when us Friends (Quakers) find war reprehensible. I don’t want my tax dollars supporting the very thing my entire faith is opposed to. They are NOT legitimately concerned about religious freedom. They don’t care or support religious freedom for any other faith (or even denomination). In fact, they oppose religious freedom for others.

  10. #10 diego
    August 30, 2006

    I’m not sure what exactly this bill regulate.
    For example, is a shop’s owner fire an employee if the employee is gay?

  11. #11 Ted
    August 30, 2006

    …but what about taxing a religious person and then using that money to support organizations they find morally reprehensible.

    What about it? Isn’t this a constitutional republic?

    You pay your taxes and the people that you elected should represent you (you being not just you, but you and your neighbor). We don’t elect the president, and we don’t make the laws — our representatives do — by design I’m thinking, in an effort to keep mob rule and tyranny of the masses down.

    Kerry had a teaching moment available when during the debate the woman said, “…but I don’t want my tax money being used to fund abortion…

  12. #12 Gretchen
    August 30, 2006

    The bill doesn’t have anything at all to do with what beliefs they can express or what they can teach their children.

    Sure it does. How are they supposed to teach their kids that homosexuals are evil, or at least sick, when the government insists on recognizing them as equally deserving of employment?

  13. #13 Raging Bee
    August 30, 2006

    …She calls the bill “yet another attempt to prevent citizens with moral and religious principles from expressing their beliefs and educating their children according to those beliefs.”

    What she’s basically saying here, is that if the law is seen treating gays as people, and they act like people in public without dire consequence, then the far right will lose their ability to demonize and slander them. How can you lie about someone, when he/she can just go and show his/her true self and blow all your lies away like yesterday’s pop icon?

  14. #14 frank
    August 30, 2006

    I see I’m already too late with the snark about far reaching powers, darn!

  15. #15 RickD
    August 30, 2006

    There’s no end to the shame of people who claim that “equal rights” are somehow “far-reaching powers”.

  16. #16 King Spirula
    August 30, 2006

    “yet another attempt to prevent citizens with moral and religious principles from expressing their beliefs and educating their children according to those beliefs.”

    Translation: Fundy Xtians are being persecuted any time other people don’t act and believe like they want them to.

    “homosexuals new and far-reaching powers”

    Wow! Is this GheyRay 2.0? You know, this first GheyRay could turn your kids into teh gay by just being around gay teachers or seeing gay actors. Does this GheyRay 2.0 have the power to turn us gay if we can’t discriminate against gays in books and at work? Behold the Power of GHEY!

  17. #17 Joe Max
    August 30, 2006

    …She calls the bill “yet another attempt to prevent citizens with moral and religious principles from expressing their beliefs and educating their children according to those beliefs.”

    What illogical nonsense. For example, it’s quite legal to become habitually drunk, but nevertheless it’s quite acceptable to teach one’s children, on purely religious grounds, that drunkenness is “sinful” behavior. The legality of alcoholic beverages doesn’t enter into it.

    There are plenty of legal ways to screw over a business partner, betray a friend, blight a neighborhood — but that doesn’t make doing so “moral” behavior, or make it “protected” from criticism and ethical judgement. So they can criticize gay people all they wish. It simply makes being gay protected from arbitrary discrimination in the public realm.

  18. #18 Julie Stahlhut
    August 30, 2006

    Skip wrote:

    Perhaps by “far-reaching powers” Arnold bestowed upon them things like x-ray vision, the ability to leap over tall buildings in single bound, amazing super-human strength, and mind control. If the gay community gets ahold of stuff like that there will be no stopping them! We will be at their mercy!

    He can rent an apartment with his partner! Legally have a sexual relationship with another consenting adult! Speak openly about his sexual orientation without being fired from his job or thrown out of school! Sue a bigoted employer or a sexual harasser for damages!

    Look up in the sky! It’s …

    … oh, never mind. I’ll behave myself now.

  19. #19 Glenn
    August 30, 2006

    Dammit, I wanted to contribute, but everyone pretty much touched on what I wanted to type here. Though I can probably expand on what Gretchen said to explain that shunning/hating someone over a personal, peaceful choice they make for themselves is harder to do face-to-face, without using taxpayer-funded discrimination as a tool.

    OK the real reason I posted is–Melody, you wouldn’t happen to have a computer-whiz brother named Tommy, would you? If so, we’ve met about six years ago, and that’s awesome. Though I thought you were a Mennonite–is that the same as a Quaker? Please advise.

  20. #20 Melody
    August 30, 2006

    Sorry Glenn — wrong Melody. Nice to meet you now, though.

    No, Mennonites and Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) are not the same. However, both communities derive from a shared history. Along with Brethren, they are Historic Peace Churches. If you google “historic peace churches” you will get a wealth of information.

  21. #21 Glenn
    August 30, 2006

    Thanks Melody, for clearing that up. To Google!

  22. #22 Carpus
    August 30, 2006

    Glenn and Melody — thanks for the very interesting side-track. Though I knew a little about the Quakers and even the Mennonites, I had no idea there were “historic peace churches” and my little google search was very educational! That’s what I love about these blogs; you never know what you’re going to learn about …

  23. #23 Scott Reese
    August 31, 2006

    If these so-called “homosexual organizations” are receiving government grants, then they are also forbidden from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation (i.e., they may not exclude heterosexuals) or religion (i.e., they may not exclude Christians). Therefore, those who are religious are not funding groups who “discriminate against them”, and if they really object to those groups’ messages, they are free to volunteer for the group and work to change it from within.

    Now this I can agree with completely, but I think its a bit of a sticking point that can cause problems within religious circles. This is especially apparent when folk make arguments like this one:

    As long as those “morally reprehensible” organizations do not engage in discrimination, then what’s the problem?

    Many religious wingnuts believe that the study and teaching of evolution are morally reprehensible. So is it still ok to use their tax dollars to conduct evolution-based medical research?

    The ‘religious wingnuts’ actually do call this discrimination and we don’t seem to be doing a good job of informing them why its not. As an evolutionary biologist teaching a course on the ID-evolution controversy (in Cobb County Georgia of all places), this is the reality that I have to confront when I walk into the classroom. The ‘religious wingnuts’ would say its not ok to do evolution-based medical research with their tax dollars. I need a better argument than ‘taxation without representation’ because they have their minds committed differently. I’ll let you know if I come up with something better because that’s coming up soon in the course.

  24. #24 Kerri
    August 31, 2006

    All this talk about taxing religious and homosexual folks and then using said tax money to fund things they find either discriminatory or repugnant… who cares? Every one of us could find something we don’t like that our tax money funds. It doesn’t matter. Tax money is used however our politicians find it best used. If you don’t like how your tax money is being used, get rid of the politicians who make the decisions.

    This is the first decision by Ahnuld that I find decent and acceptable. Religious nuts will just have to realize they don’t own the country and have no definitive say in what happens here. They have to realize that they must play nice with everyone else here, even those with whom they disagree.

    And I do find it quite amusing (read “infuriating” that religious nuts have no problems using tax dollars to discriminate and bash those who don’t agree with them but then they scream from the heavens that someone else might (and that’s a BIG might” do the same thing.

    What’s good for the goose…

  25. #25 John McKay
    August 31, 2006

    Since these people are always specific in their hysteria about the dangers of the “radical homosexual agenda,” does that mean they’re okay with the moderate homosexual agenda?

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.