Thursday, April 15, 2010

Religious business owners should not have the 'special right' to discriminate

Matt Barber of the Liberty Counsel just gave the real reason why religious right groups oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

And it has nothing to do with "drag queen teachers" or any other fear story drudged up by his colleagues in other religious right groups such as the Traditional Values Coalition.

It has to do with giving religious business owners special rights.

Barber spelled out this position in a Washington Times piece:

ENDA would force - under penalty of law - Christian, Jewish or Muslim business owners to adopt a secular-humanist viewpoint, ignoring all matters surrounding sexual morality while making hiring and firing decisions. Unlike race or sex, homosexual and cross-dressing behaviors are both volitional and mutable. Nonetheless, and despite the reality that such conduct is in direct conflict with every major world religion, thousands of years of history and uncompromising human biology, ENDA would compel business owners with 15 or more employees to leave sincerely held religious beliefs at the workplace door and submit to the demands of the homosexual activist lobby.

You got that? Barber said nothing about churches or other religious institutions, which ENDA has exemptions for. He is talking about a business owner's personal beliefs, even if they are trying to make money via a commercial business.

Barber's attempted stance against ENDA again reveals the religious right's need for nice sounding talking points designed to obscure facts but his carefully positioned words cannot hide the fallacies behind his argument.

Barber's opinion is that a restaurant owner, who calls himself a Christian, Jew, or Muslim should be allowed to discriminate in practices of hiring and firing.

But why stop there? If business owners of a secular enterprise can discriminate in cases of religious beliefs, then why not race or gender?

For the record, I don't think any business owner should be allowed to discriminate in cases of race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation irregardless of his or her personal "deeply held beliefs."

Or as EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum eloquently stated:

Once an individual chooses to enter the stream of economic commerce by opening a commercial establishment, I believe it is legitimate to require that they play by certain rules. If the government tolerated the private exclusionary policies of such individuals in the commercial sector, such toleration would necessarily come at the cost of gay people’s sense of belonging and safety in society. Just as we do not tolerate private racial beliefs that adversely affect African Americans in the commercial arena, even if such beliefs are based on religious views, we should similarly not tolerate private beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identity that adversely affect LGBT people.

No matter how noble Barber tries to make his position sound, it all adds up to special rights for religious business owners and discrimination against those who don't share their beliefs.

And neither concept has any place in this great country.

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Unknown said...

Of course, this would also allow non-religious to ban religious from their businesses. Just what we need, more stratification and division!

Unknown said...

“ENDA would force - under penalty of law - Christian, Jewish or Muslim business owners to adopt a secular-humanist viewpoint”

Yet somehow doing business with atheists wouldn’t force owners to “adopt a secular-humanist viewpoint”
Not to mention his faux concern for the special rights of “hellbound” Jews and Muslims.

“No no, it’s not just us Christians, look at all the blasphemous heretics that are on our side as well.”

Michael said...

Matt Barber criticizing Chai Feldblum, 4/15/10:
'In the past, Ms. Feldblum has repeatedly and candidly summed up the mindset behind the bill. She has publicly stated that the battle between religious freedom and unfettered sexual license (aka homosexual 'rights') is a 'zero-sum game,' meaning the two cannot possibly coexist in harmony. It's a 'winner takes all' approach."

Matt Barber, January 23, 2009:
"The radical homosexual agenda and religious/free-speech liberties cannot occupy the same space. It's a zero-sum game."

Matt Barber, April 21, 2009:
"In short, this bill places newfangled "gay rights" in direct conflict with our enumerated constitutional rights. It becomes the first step in the official criminalization of Christianity. It's a zero sum game and someone has to lose."

Marlene said...

We have a battle about to happen here in Bowling Green, Ohio over amending the two anti-discrimination ordinances which happened this past August.

One of the justifications spewed by the cowardly bigots here in town are exactly the same as the cowardly bigot Barber -- that they have the right to deny someone employment, or a place to live based on their own personal religious beliefs!

As I posted on the Washington Times comment section: "I wonder what the hue and cry would be if other Christian business owners started to discriminate against members of the American Taliban like Mattie? I wonder how many of these owners would start getting death threats or face domestic terrorism like arson of their store or restaurant?"