Monday, September 21, 2009

Bathrooms, Church Exemptions, and Lies: Five ways the religious right misrepresents ENDA

I ran this post before but as hearing on ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act)take place this week, I reworked it as talking points which we can use to lobby Congressmen and educate the public on the deceptions about ENDA.

As the Congressional hearing on ENDA begin place this week, I have a source which tells me that the religious right will be working overtime to distort ENDA, from pulling the “sexual predators invading women’s bathrooms” card to claiming that churches will be "forced to hire flamboyant homosexuals."

Don't let them flip the script.

ENDA has nothing to do with bathrooms, gay men with wild fashion sense alarming old church mothers, or drag queens leading Christian nurseries in a chorus of "I Am What I Am."

ENDA is about ensuring that every American regardless of race, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation is treated fairly under the law.

Why anyone would have a problem with this is something I can’t understand. But then again, I can never understand the lies and motivations of religious right groups when they masquerade as “pro-family.”

I found some talking points via the American Family Association regarding ENDA. If I know religious right groups (and I think that I do), these talking points will be repeated in one form or another on other sites and blogs. And they will probably repeated at the Congressional hearing.

I have created some answers to their inaccurate statements. I implore everyone to read them, pass them along, and above all when you lobby Congress (and you had better if you want ENDA passed), use these refutations:

Distortion - ENDA (H.R. 2981 - H.R. 3017 - S. 1584) has been changed from the "gay-only" version the House passed in 2007 to include language banning job discrimination based on "gender identity" as well as sexual orientation - complete with special protections for the transgendered. It would mean your child's teacher, if he were a male but "felt" like a female, could go into the women's bathroom.

TRUTH - According to the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, over 100 localities (cities and counties) in the United States have trans-inclusive non-discrimination laws. There has never been a problem of a man "claiming to feel like a female" invading women's bathrooms. The claim is a non-issue created to scare people and distract from the true purpose of ENDA.

Distortion - ENDA is aimed at providing heightened protections for a particular sexual behavior - homosexuality. It would grant special consideration on the basis of "sexual orientation" that would not be extended to other employees in the workplace.

TRUTH - ENDA says nothing about sexual behavior. Potential employees are already federally protected in cases of race, religion, gender, and national origin. Heterosexuals would be protected under ENDA along with lgbts because adding sexual orientation does not single out gays and lesbians any more than gender singles out solely women or men.

Distortion - ENDA violates employers' and employees' Constitutional freedoms of religion, speech and association. The proposed legislation would prohibit employers from taking their deeply held beliefs into account when making personnel decisions. This would pose an unprecedented intrusion by the federal government into people's lives.

TRUTH - "Deeply held beliefs" are no excuse for discrimination of any stripe. A capable employee should not be fired simply because his or her boss has a “deeply held belief” against homosexuality. Also one could argue there is already "federal intrusion" in people's lives with the protections in the cases of race, religion, gender, and national origin. And ENDA does contain exemptions for religious groups and organizations.

Distortion - 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.

TRUTH - If "national policy supporting marriage and family" is changed, then it is a good thing. Not all families are heterosexually-oriented. Also, several states already offer lgbts either the right to marry or enter domestic partnerships. A national policy regarding families and marriage should embrace this change.

Distortion - HRC claims that ENDA does not apply to religious organizations, but the 2007 version of the law only provided a religious exemption for religious positions that were involved in actual teaching or proclamation of doctrine. Such a limited exemption, some pro-family legal experts argue, would mean that a Christian school that was hiring a secretary, janitor or football coach would not be allowed to reject a homosexual who applied for the slot.

TRUTH - The religious exemption of the 2009 version of ENDA (Section 6) has the same exemptions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

This Act shall not apply to a corporation, association, educational institution, or society that is exempt from the religious discrimination provisions of title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 pursuant to section 702(a) or 703(e)(2) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000e-1(a); 2000e-2(e)(2)).

Any unproven fear stories about churches being forced to hire anyone not conducive to their message or beliefs are just that - unproven fear stories.

Related posts:

Exposing an anti-gay ENDA lie before it gains traction



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