The Radical Christian Right says they’re strict biblical constructionists. If it’s in the Bible, it must be true.
OK, then, what about the ninth commandment—do not bear false witness. Or, as we say in the 21st Century, no lying!
With the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act—or ENDA for short--soon to be voted on by Congress, lying is all these folks can do.
The bill would prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the workplace. To be clear, religious organizations, businesses that exist solely to serve religious organizations and businesses with under 15 employees would be exempt.
ENDA is an absolute necessity because in 31 states you can still be fired if you’re queer.
Yet, a recent poll by Harris Interactive found that nearly two-thirds of all American adults believe it is unfair that federal law does not protect LGBT people from job discrimination. In addition to the majority of Americans believing in fairness, it seems that corporate America is getting in the act as well.
The Human Rights Campaign just released its 2008 Corporate Equality Index. In the six years HRC has been doing this research, the number of corporate employers who received a 100% rating—they’re doing everything right to create a welcoming, protected workplace for LGBT people—went from 13 in 2002 to 195 in 2008.
Clearly, the tide of fairness and inclusion is on our side. So, what are Radical Christian Right groups like Concerned Women for America or their shills in Congress like Republican Roy Blunt from Missouri saying about the bill that would just let us work without fear of reprisal?
They’re telling lies. They’re misleading the public. They’re using the tried and true scare tactics that have characterized their vitriol against LGBT from day one.
Blunt contends that passing ENDA would create a crisis for Christians. He said “Not being able to hire people based on their agreement with your sense of principles and values . . . would be devastating.” Getting through his double speak, he’s basically saying that Christian employers should be able to have a morality litmus test for prospective employees. Sorry but if that were the case, we’d be rolling back the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The arguments made against the law that made it illegal to discriminate based on the race and national origin were also steeped in the supposed Christian values of some employers who did not have to work with someone who wasn’t white.
The folks at Concerned Women for America contend that being gay is a “changeable sexual behavior.” If we’d only change back to straight then we wouldn’t have to worry about being fired from our jobs.
Well, here’s the truth for you—I was never straight, I just tried it on for size before I knew I could be true to myself. The lie that “gays can change” is one of the Radical Christian Right’s pillars of deceit and deception. It is their clarion call for denying us our civil rights.
Another of the Right’s absurd pillars is the notion that granting us employment protections steps on their freedom of religion. Matt Barber, CWA’s Policy Director for Cultural Issues said “ENDA would essentially force employers to check their First Amendment protected rights to freedom of religion, speech and association at the workplace door.”
Well if that doesn’t echo the arguments against the 1964 Civil Rights Act I don’t know what does.
However, the idea that our mere presence in a workplace abridges someone else’s freedom of religion is absolutely absurd. If I, as a lesbian, go to work at a telemarketing firm that employs more than 15 people, how exactly does my sitting in my cubicle making phone calls hinder the supposed devout Christian in the next cubicle from going to church on Sunday, raising his kids the way he wants or participating in bible study? It doesn’t.
What these folks really believe but don’t say is that our mere existence gets them upset. We just shouldn’t be because in their strict biblical constructionist minds we’re sinners and don’t deserve to walk on the same hallowed ground as they do.
As the Radical Christian Right continues to tell lies about us—if you listen to them you’d think we want the whole world to be gay—we’ll continue to tell the truth. Our lives, our love, our economic well-being, our families are worth protecting.