Monday, July 23, 2007

Tony Perkins Still Doesn't Know What Country He Lives In

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has an article posted, blasting both the hate crimes legislation and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. He begins...

"Earlier in the week I wrote about thought crimes legislation and the
plight of a Canadian pastor who's on trial for allegedly running a foul of a
similar law."

Okay, so we're no longer calling it hate crimes legislation or even mentioning the bill's new name, the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and we're back to noting the legal hoopla that is occurring in another country. For all the discussion about that ever elusive agenda of ours and how underhanded it supposedly is, changing the name of the bill in your own column is pretty damn underhanded! Tony continues...

"On Capitol Hill we are facing a similar battle. The Employment
Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would give homosexuals conduct the same
protections we currently give black Americans and women. To be black or female
is, as Gen. Colin Powell pointed out, an immutable condition. But people choose
whether or not to act on their homosexual disposition."

First, I don't understand why every other human being in this country regardless of their gender or ethnicity...shouldn't be granted the same protection from employment discrimination. More importantly, though, Tony skewed what Colin Powell actually had to say on the subject. As Jeremy over at Good As You pointed out, the quote Tony gave was taken out of context. That link will take you to Jeremy's post on this article and will give you more details on finding the actual text of Powell's comments. Powell's actual quote was...

“Skin color is a benign, non-behavioral characteristic. Sexual orientation
is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics. Comparison of
the two is a convenient, but invalid argument” (quote courtesy of Good As You)

Jeremy analyzes this very well in his post, so I won't be redundant. Instead, let me point out that, once again, a member of the fundie community has tried to use a quote incorrectly in order to make their position seem more viable...the very thing the homosexual community is constantly, yet falsely, accused of doing. Tony continues by turning his attention to ENDA...

"Advocates of ENDA argue that there is a religious exemption for churches.
The weakness of such exemptions was illustrated this week in England. An open
homosexual named John Reaney applied for a job as a youth director for the
Anglican diocese of Hereford. The archbishop of this diocese refused him
employment. Mr. Reaney successfully sued the diocese for discrimination under
the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations of 2007. The religious
exemption in the law applied only to ministers. The exemption became ambiguous
when it came to employment for other duties within the church. This is another
example where legislators provide what appears to be an exemption to appease
churches when the legislation is passed but leave them vague enough so that the
courts get the final say and religious freedom is lost."

Did you catch this example's country of origin? If Tony and the other fundies are going to insist on this line of logic (and I use that term very loosely), then let's take a moment and look at a couple of other things going on another country in recent days. Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, has warned foreigners that they will be expelled should they decide to criticize him or his government. This is on the heels of a Venezuelan television network being forced to go to cable because of it's opposition to the Chavez government.

Should Americans now fear having our most basic freedoms of speech curtailed because of the actions of a foreign leader in his own country? Even with the expanded executive powers that Bush has granted himself, none of them involve precluding anyone from speaking out against him as a leader or as a person, for that matter. Where, then, is the threat that in this country...especially when the curtailing of certain free speech rights could be infringed upon when it comes to criticizing the President...that this hate crimes bill will somehow muzzle religious leaders?

These cases (which have been repeated by various fundie leaders ad nauseum) have no bearing upon the laws of this country, and only represent an extremely lame attempt on the part of the fundies to use the fear-mongering tactic in trying to rouse their base. Ultimately, the fundie base can whine and rant all they want...the truth is that they have no legal leg to stand on.

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