Monday, June 25, 2007

George Will gets it wrong

It's bad enough that the lgbt community has to deal with the consistent spin from the anti-gay industry that we are trying to steal the liberty and freedom of Christians.

But when someone who is considered "mainstream" starts that type of spin, we have problems.

George Will is considered to be an intelligent columnist and an esteemed Washington insider. He has the respect of many of his jounalistic colleagues and is also the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, probably the highest honor a journalist can receive.

So why, in his recent column, did he channel our friend and former Concerned Women for America employee Robert Knight.

Will talks about the recent case involving the city of Oakland vs. two Christian employees. I have talked about the case in past postings, but here is the gist:

Gay employees working for Oakland's government formed a group. In response, two Christian employees formed their own group. In the flyer advertising the Christian group, terms like "integrity" and "natural family" were used in ways that attacked gay employees.

The Christian group was told to revise the flyer. They refused and sued the city of Oakland.

Having lost their case in the 9th Circuit Court, the employees are now appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

And that is the case. It sounds so simple that it involves gays and Christians, which means you have people coming out of the woodwork throwing out claims of a "gay agenda" trying to silence Christians.

Of course the anti-gay industry is trying to use this story in their litany of lies about the gay community.

Now they seem to have a friend with George Will.

In his column, he says:

Some African-American Christian women working for Oakland's government organized the Good News Employee Association, or GNEA, which they announced with a flier describing their group as "a forum for people of Faith to express their views on the contemporary issues of the day. With respect for the Natural Family, Marriage and Family Values."

The flier was distributed after other employees' groups, including those advocating gay rights, had advertised their political views and activities on the city's e-mail system and bulletin board. When the GNEA asked for equal opportunity to communicate by that system and that board, it was denied. Furthermore, the flier they posted was taken down and destroyed by city officials, who declared it "homophobic" and disruptive.

. . . The treatment of GNEA illustrates one technique by which America's growing ranks of self-appointed speech police expand their reach: They wait until groups they disagree with, such as GNEA, are provoked to respond to them in public debates, then they persecute them for annoying those to whom they are responding.

Will puts the same spin on this story that the anti-gay industry put on past situations like the David Parker and Repent America cases i.e. claiming that gays want to curtail the freedom of speech of Christians, but omitting the fact that the Christians in question acted in a way that went way beyond freedom of speech.

And what makes matters worse, he tries to tie the situation in with hate crimes legislation. One guess what position he took.

Will's address is

If you write him, please don't be rude or ugly. And please don't throw around tired phrases and words like "homophobic" and "bigot." Make your argument in a reasonable manner. The following is my letter:

For years, I have read your columns and many times disagreed with what you have said.

But there was always a respect for your opinion because you never gave the impression that you were feeding readers a line, so to speak.

Your recent column, Free Speech vs.Gay Rights, changes all of that.

You were derelict in your duty as a gatekeeper because you did not tell the entire facts of the case regarding the Good News Employee Association case in Oakland.

If you will forgive me for being so bold, I am of the opinion that you intentionally meant to deceive your readers.

Your first sentence, Marriage is the foundation of the natural family and sustains family values. That sentence is inflammatory, perhaps even a hate crime, can only be called for what it is; a damned lie.

This is from an article in the Oakland Tribune on Feb. 16, 2007:

Rederford and Christy sued, claiming their rights were violated by an Oakland anti-discrimination policy that promotes homosexuality and denounces Christian values. A federal judge dismissed the city as a defendant in March 2004, and in February 2005 granted summary judgment in favor of then-City Manager Robert Bobb and CEDA Deputy Executive Director Joyce Hicks. Senior Circuit Judge Betty Fletcher on Thursday asked Lively whether his clients realize they have "a rather low level of protection" on potentially incendiary or discriminatory language in the workplace, and should "keep away from words that'll rile people up."

"But shouldn't that go both ways?" Lively replied, noting his clients hadn't complained about the National Coming Out Day e-mail.

Circuit Judge Sandra Ikuta noted that e-mail had invited readers to "a rally against hatred and bigotry -- is that disparaging to your clients?"

Circuit Judge Richard Clifton said he believes "there are eggshells on both sides" of this argument, yet he doesn't see what the e-mail had done to vilify Rederford and Christy while it's not hard to see how their flier vilified gays and lesbians. "It's hard to avoid the inference, 'We lack ethics, we lack integrity because these people are here.'"

Your explanation, The treatment of GNEA illustrates one technique by which America's growing ranks of self-appointed speech police expand their reach: They wait until groups they disagree with are provoked to respond to them in public debates, then they persecute them for annoying those to whom they are responding, is poorly reasoned and I feel intentionally vague.

The pro-gay group's flyers had no language attacking those who do not agree with homosexuality. Nor did the pro-gay group attack anyone opposing lgbt rights as having no integrity. Nor did they attack their families and accuse them of not being natural, unlike the flyer of GNEA that caused all of this ruckus.

So just how did the pro-gay group provoke Rederford and Christy?

And this case has nothing to do with the "gay agenda" or "hate crimes," but rather what actions an employer should take when employees feel that their religion allows them to demean the families of other employees not sharing their beliefs.

I would expect what you wrote to come from someone like Robert Knight, Brent Bozell, or Cliff Kincaid and not someone who is an esteemed Washington columnist and a Pulitzer Prize recipient.