mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“The Right To Discriminate”: What Do The GOP Candidates Think Of State ‘Conscience Clause’ Legislation?

There’s an interesting/horrifying piece in today’s New York Times about a trend across the country, but mostly in the South, to enact “conscience” legislation at the state level that would allow businesses to discriminate against gay people if they can justify it on the basis of their religion. One interesting facet of this issue is that the moneyed interests in the GOP, along with big corporations (not the same thing, but there’s plenty of overlap) are completely spooked by these bills. We’ll get to that in a moment, but here are some colorful details:

“The L.G.B.T. movement is the main thing, the primary thing that’s going to be challenging religious liberties and the freedom to live out religious convictions,” said State Senator Joseph Silk, an Oklahoma Republican and the sponsor of a bill in that state. “And I say that sensitively, because I have homosexual friends.”

Of course he does. He goes on:

“They don’t have a right to be served in every single store,” said Mr. Silk, the Oklahoma state senator, referring to gay people. “People need to have the ability to refuse service if its violates their religious convictions.”

I mean, come on. Gay people want to be able to go into every single store? Who do they think they are?

But this brings up a question for me. When the religious conservatives pushing these bills argue for why they’re needed, they always mention a retailer whose work gets right down into all that gayness. Like the baker who might have to make a cake for a gay couple and live through the horror of placing two female figurines on top of the cake, or the photographer who might have to take their picture, trying to see his camera’s viewfinder through the veil of tears he weeps at the destruction of the American family represented by two people making a commitment to spend their lives together.

But no legislator is going to specify an exhaustive list of who would and wouldn’t be able to refuse service, because doing so would be a very difficult thing to write into a bill’s text. Instead, the right to discriminate is inevitably written broadly. For example, one bill in Oklahoma says: “No business entity shall be required to provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges related to any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person, group or association.” Which would mean, for instance, that it would be legal for any store or restaurant to put up a sign saying, “We don’t serve gays.” Other bills (here, for example) are written even more broadly, just saying that the state can’t stop you from acting on your sincerely held religious beliefs, which would include discriminating against gay people if that’s your thing.

As the Times story details, some of these bills have died in the face of opposition from business interests; for instance, when Walmart came out against the one in Arkansas, it was pretty much doomed. The company may be conservative in many ways, but it doesn’t want its state to be known as a bastion of hatred and discrimination.

So I’d be interested to hear specifically from some influential Republicans—like, say, the ones running for president—on what they think of these laws. I looked around a bit and didn’t find any of them commenting on it, which isn’t too surprising given that it’s been playing out at the state level. But maybe someone should start asking. Do they think a baker ought to be able to discriminate? And if they say that there ought to be a way for the baker to exercise his “conscience,” then the next question is, what about a restaurant? What about a hardware store?

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect, March 6, 2015

March 7, 2015 Posted by | Conscience Legislation, Discrimination, GOP Presidential Candidates | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“GOP Rebranding Efforts Are Doomed”: The Far-Right Pundits Tasked With Moderating The Iowa GOP

Conservative media figures that embody messages of misogyny and hate will take center stage at a GOP candidate forum in Iowa, despite the party’s own acknowledgment that future electoral victories hinge upon the development of a more tolerant platform.

After Mitt Romney’s loss in the 2012 presidential election, the Republican National Committee drafted a series of recommendations on how to evolve and grow the party into a force that can win consistently in the 21st century. To a large extent, the plan recommended reaching out to women and minorities, after Democrats won both groups by healthy margins that year. The RNC report recommended “developing a forward-leaning vision for voting Republican that appeals to women.” It went on to suggest that the party needs “to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans and demonstrate that we care about them, too.”

But in a move that seems in total opposition to those recommendations, the Iowa Republican candidates for U.S. Senate, as well as Republican Gov. Terry Branstad and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), have chosen to partner with Fox News contributor Erick Erickson, radio host Steve Deace, and The Family Leader, an anti-gay organization headed by Bob Vander Plaats, to conduct a forum for the candidates on April 25.

Despite his role as “moderator” for the event, Erickson’s far-right views on women and minorities are anything but moderate. Erickson has argued that businesses that serve gay couples are “aiding and abetting” sin, that proposed anti-discrimination laws are part of a war on Christians waged by “evil” gay rights activists, and that marriage equality is akin to incest. According to the pundit, gay people are definitely “on the road to hell.”

In fact, Erickson is scheduled to appear at an event for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on the night before the candidate forum. The ADF, whose work has been touted by Erickson, is an extreme anti-gay organization working to criminalize homosexuality. The event is billed as “An Evening with Erick Erickson,” making him a de facto spokesman for a group whose stances are so extreme even some of Erickson’s peers at Fox News have distanced themselves from them.

Erickson’s relationship with women’s issues is just as offensive — he is particularly hostile to the idea that women should help support a family financially. Erickson stated on his radio show in 2013 that “some women believe they can have it all, and that’s the crux of the problem,” and told Fox host Lou Dobbs that the recent increase in the number of female breadwinners is “concerning and troubling.” He elaborated on this point, saying, “When you look at biology, look at the natural world, the roles of a male and female in society, and the other animals, the male typically is the dominant role.”

But it’s not just Erickson. The Republican candidate forum will also feature a post-forum focus group moderated by radio host and Washington Times columnist Steve Deace.

Deace maintains strong anti-gay and anti-immigrant views. Most recently, he penned a column suggesting that President Obama and the media were using the story of Michael Sam, an openly gay NFL prospect from the University of Missouri, as an excuse to distract attention away from the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. He has also compared gay marriage to bank robbery and strongly opposes proposals like the DREAM Act that would aid longtime immigrant children in obtaining a college education.

And the forum itself is presented by The Family Leader, whose president Bob Vander Plaats has called gay people a “public health risk,” likened being gay to adultery and polygamy, and is a vocal supporter of the fringe birther movement.

If right-wing hate mongers like Erickson and Deace continue to be chosen to represent the party, GOP rebranding efforts are likely doomed.

 

By: Brian Powell, Media Matters For America, April 16, 2014

April 17, 2014 Posted by | GOP | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Progressive “Paper Tigers”: Religious Right Advocating Violence Against “Secularist Left Bullies”

Matt Barber of the Liberty Counsel yesterday on his radio show seemed to advocate for violence by people of faith against “the secularist left” whom he called “bullies.” Barber likened progressive and secular left-wing groups to “paper tigers” and school yard bullies who attempt to intimidate people into silence.

“On yesterday’s episode of the ‘Faith and Freedom’ radio program, Matt Barber stated that groups such as ours and Americans United and the ACLU were nothing but ‘paper tigers’ to whom conservatives must stand up,” People for the American Way’s Kyle Mantyla writes today at their Right Wing Watch blog:

In fact, said Barber, the “secularist left” in general is nothing buy a bunch of bullies who intimidate the righteous and push “religious bigotry” on everyone else. And like all bullies, they just need to be punched in the mouth.

Barber is the Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action and an Associate Dean and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University School of Law, and also serves on the board of the SPLC-certified anti-gay hate group, Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, and is the Policy Director for Cultural Issues at Concerned Women for America.

Last month, in direct contradiction to FBI published statistics, Barber falsely claimed there is “no evidence” of mass anti-gay violence but the “specter” of violence against gay people has forced churches into the closet.

Last year, Barber said that “at the heart of modern Liberalism is rebellion toward God, is hatred for God,” and also claimed that gays know in their hearts that there is no such thing as two mothers or fathers and that all they really want is to destroy the American family.

Also last year, Barber said gays are terrorists and want to put conservatives in jail.

Unsurprisingly, Barber is one of several dozen anti-gay pundits tracked by GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project (CAP). See his entry here.

Transcript and video via Right Wing Watch:

They’re bullies. And we know that we people stand up to the bully on the playground – the bully on the playground intimidates, that’s what he does, intimidates people into silence, into fear, into avoiding the bully. And oftentimes the bully is the paper tiger and when the righteous individual who is being bullied defends his or herself and punches the bully in the mouth, guess what, the bully more times than not has a glass jaw, falls down and then everyone on the playground says “whoa, the bully was a weakling after all.”

That’s the secularist left. The secularist left are bullies. They try to bully and intimidate and push religious intolerance and religious bigotry on everyone else.

Of course, ironically, Barber and his ilk are the true bullies, and are responsible for contributing to an environment of homophobic hate that leads a great number of LGBT youth and teens to suicide.

 

By: David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement, April 18, 2012

April 19, 2012 Posted by | Civil Rights | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: